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Daughter From Danang

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Daughter From Danang

Starring: Gail Dolgin, Vicente Franco
Director: Gail Dolgin
Rated: NR
RunTime: 81 Minutes
Release Date: November 2002
Genres: Documentary, Foreign

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

DAUGHTER FROM DANANG, by documentarians Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco, travels a fascinating arc from hope and euphoria to reality and disillusionment as it follows Heidi Bub as she returns to Vietnam to reunite with her birth mother. Although it's easy to foretell its shocking conclusion as cultures clash, its emotional impact is undeniable.

A self-described "101% Americanized" young woman with a husband and two young girls, Heidi was born in Vietnam. In 1975 at the age of 7, Heidi and two thousand other "orphans" were airlifted out of the country in operation "Babylift." Many of these children weren't orphans at all but were Amerasians kids born of Vietnamese mothers and American soldiers. Heidi was one of these mixed race children who were sent to America to escape the arriving Communist victors who might kill them on the spot.

A sweet woman with a loving heart, Heidi goes back to visit her mother Mai Thi Kim, who seems just as loving as her daughter. Heidi looks and sounds like a lifelong Southerner from Tennessee, but, when she meets her real mother, the resemblance is obvious and striking.

The first of many surprises occurs when Heidi begins to reveal the truth of her upbringing by Ann, her adoptive, single mother. Although they traveled extensively, their life together was strict and loveless.

By the end of the movie, you may find yourself pondering many issues from the meaning of maternal love to how small cultural differences can easily escalate into Grand Canyons that are forever insurmountable.

DAUGHTER FROM DANANG runs just 1:20. The film is in English and in Vietnamese with English subtitles. It is not rated but would probably be PG for mature themes and would be acceptable for any kids old enough to be interested in serious subjects.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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