Catfish in Black Bean Sauce | Chicago Reader

Catfish in Black Bean Sauce

A woman whose parents adopted her and her younger brother from a Vietnamese refugee camp locates their birth mother and arranges a visit. But when the mother arrives she ignores the daughter and lavishes attention on the son despite his indifference, alienating the adoptive parents as well as the son's fiancee, of whom she disapproves. The son's partly stereotypical, partly affected behavior—he's fascinated by the African-American heritage of his adoptive parents—is played for comedy, and his naivete and earnestness account for much of this movie's charm. There are enough plot points to fill an entire soap-opera season, but writer-director Chi Muoi Lo, who also plays the son, somehow manages to juggle them all, turning seemingly superfluous elements into workable drama and metaphor. With Paul Winfield, Mary Alice, Lauren Tom, and Kieu Chinh. 111 min.

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