The Grace Lee Project | Chicago Reader

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Young writers are often advised to write what they know, and it's a good idea for filmmakers too, as Grace Lee proves with this funny and engaging 2005 debut feature. Blending anthropology and memoir, the video charts her exhaustive search for women who share her common name, to see if they fit the Asian-American stereotype: petite, smart, talented, soft-spoken, and eager to please. A teen prodigy in Silicon Valley matches this description, but there are also some notable exceptions, including an 88-year-old activist in Detroit and a resilient single mom in Sacramento—though the girl who set fire to her San Francisco high school is MIA. Thanks to the director's curiosity, openness, and wit, this has a great vibe from start to finish. 68 min.

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