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Portraying one of the shadier details of American history, this is the story of Jack McGurn, who comes to Los Angeles in 1936. He gets a job at a movie theatre in Little Tokyo and falls in love with the boss's daughter, Lily Kawamura. When her father finds out, he is fired and forbidden ever to see her again. But together they escape to Seattle. When the war breaks out, the authorities decide that the Japanese immigrants must live in camps like war prisoners. Written by
The film's "Come See The Paradise" title is derived from a of a poem by Russian poet Anna Akh. As writer-director Alan Parker couldn't locate the original work, Parker wrote his own new version. It read: "We all dream our American dreams. When we're awake and when we sleep. So much hope that grief belies. Far beyond the lies and sighs. Because dreams are free. And so are we. Come See the Paradise." See more »
Toward the end when Lily is sitting at the kitchen table she reports to her aunt that a big bomb, an atomic bomb, was dropped over Hiroshima. "In a 1/10th of a second 200,000 people were killed". This is a factual error. Approximately 70,000 were killed that day and roughly another 70,000 by the end of 1945. See more »
"Come See The Paradise" is a forgotten gem of a film that takes place during one of the United States' darkest and most shameful times. At the onset of World War II, Japanese-Americans were put into internment camps This injustice lasted for several years. Alan Parker's fictional film takes place before, during and after this time. It tells the story of Jack McGurn (Dennis Quaid), an Irish-American labor organizer who falls in love with Lily Kawamura (Tamlyn Tomita), a young girl who lives with her large family in San Fransisco. Lily's father (Sab Shimono) does not agree with the romance, which forces Jack and Lily to elope in Seattle. Jack gets into some trouble with the law while picketing, and Lily, angry that Jack has not changed his ways since the birth of their daughter, Mini, takes the child back to her family's house. Soon after, Pearl Harbor is bombed, the Kawamuras are shuttled off to various camps (except Mr. Kawamura who is believed to be a traitor), and Jack is forced into the army.
Like many films, "Come See The Paradise" is about the strength of love. The fact that it uses this period as a backdrop sets it apart from the rest. The chemistry between Quaid and Tomita is amazing. Just watch them together when they meet for the first time and they kiss. It's simply stunning. Quaid has rarely been this good, and Tomita is obviously relishing having a lead role. In most of her films she's listed as "(somebody's) wife". Films like this and "The Joy Luck Club" prove that she is one of the most talented and under-used actresses.
Some have complained that this film uses an "American" character to tell the story of a "Japanese" family. As if any non-Japanese audience members would not be able to understand, or relate to, the Japanese family. The Quaid character is called "un-American" because of his labor rights stance. The family is called "un-American" simply because they are of Japanese descent. Even though the children were born in the United States. So what exactly does it mean to be "un-American"?
Side note: this movie has not been released on DVD. I anxiously await that day.
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