Chu And Blossom (2014)
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Critic Reviews for Chu And Blossom
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Audience Reviews for Chu And Blossom
While this is an American-made movie with American actors, it sort of relates to what I'm gonna talk about in terms of Korean culture and, more specifically, Korean parents. People say that life imitates art, but I think that's bullshit. Art is a reflection of the lives and the world that we inhabit. People who are involved in a process that involves some sort of creativity all have their real-life inspiration that they incorporate in their art. I bring this up because this film focuses on a man, Chu, who is doing everything he can to study abroad in order to fulfill his parents' wishes for him and what they want him to do in life. Chu just so happens to be from Korea. This is relevant because, from what I've been able to see from all these Korean movies (and television series) I've seen, parents seem to have a more domineering presence in their children's lives than most would find acceptable. Of course, I'm not saying that every Korean parent is like this, but the films I've seen where the parents have overstepped their bounds don't make them seem like very likable people. As an example of this, I once saw a movie (My Little Bride, for those curious) where these two young teens (one of them ACTUALLY underage) were forced to marry each other because the male teen's grandfather promised his war buddy (the grandfather of the underage girl) that their two families would become one. The teens fight this. So the grandfather in question pretends that he's dying in order to get his way. Yes, really. And, eventually, he does get his way and these two teens end up married. Again, this is clearly an exaggeration, but there's gotta be some reason for that. And I think that's why this makes Chu's reluctance to go against his parents' wishes (whose only other son died) and to take his own path so easy to relate to. I mean I've seen this domineering play out in many, many films and I can buy that Chu's family want to control his every move and his every decision regardless of the fact that it may not be what he wants to do. I reviewed The Last Word some days ago and that film tries to tell this story of this life-changing friendship between these two women. I thought the movie was decent, but I felt the movie didn't really let us see enough of who both women really were to truly get a comprehensive view of how their friendship with each other changed their respective lives for the better. This film takes a similar approach in that Chu's friendship with Blossom (and his meeting Cherry at school) opened his eyes to the idea that, maybe, he should live his life for himself and not his parents. But I would say that, in spite of taking a similar approach, I feel that this movie is better than The Last Word. I just found it to be a more consistent movie with better writing, a real sense of getting to the heart of the characters and what motivates them. I'm not gonna say it had better acting, because Shirley McClaine and Amanda Seyfried are pretty great in The Last Word, it's just that the scripting around them isn't great. But, in all honesty, Charles Chu (who plays, you guessed it, Chu) and Ryan O'Nan are pretty great together. These two have worked together before and there's a completely natural and organic rapport with one another. The way the film tells the story of their friendship might be somewhat predictable and all that, but I find that it worked in large part due to the chemistry between the leads. It's obvious that these two have been friends prior to the film and that lends itself to a film like this. I've always said that, in films like this that are all about friendship, it helps if your lead actors are friends. It's so fucking easy that way, because you get to see that on-screen in their interactions with each other. You don't have to do much writing in order to get us to believe that these people are friends, because they already are. Of course you should still write a good script, because these people aren't miracle workers and they can't make nothing out of nothing, but you don't have to work as hard to convince people. So, yea, the writing is quite good indeed. I don't think they go to any real unexpected places with the script, characters or the narrative, but I don't think they really needed to to explore some interesting ideas. Chu, again, is basically manipulated by his parents (perhaps unknowingly) into doing what they want him to do. They say that he's the only thing they have and that his brother had listened to them, he may not have died. They never take into consideration Chu's own wishes and dreams. Meeting Butch changes all of that, since he's all about doing what he believes in regardless of how it may be perceived. Again, it's nothing outstanding, but the dynamic of the Korean foreign-exchange student and the militant artist works here. I wouldn't call the film super funny, but it doesn't need to be for it to be a good movie. I suppose the idea of a comedy movie that isn't funny might be enough to turn someone off. But I've seen plenty of movies that weren't what they appeared to be that still ended up being enjoyable. There's a romance subplot but, again, I don't think it feels forced. I wish there would have been more scenes with Chu and Cherry, but their romance is not nauseating or anything like that. I don't know what else to say, really. The ending might be seen to some to be too sentimental, but I think given everything that we saw, it feels more bittersweet than sentimental. It's an ending that these characters deserved. Cinematography isn't great and I'm certain other people pointed out this film's flaws, but I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. It's not the best flick you will ever see, of course, but I'd give this a recommendation. This is a good movie and you know how difficult those are to make?
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