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Come See the Paradise
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Come See the Paradise More at IMDbPro »

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36 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

One of Alan Parker's most beautiful films

Author: Paul Sampson Fish from Stow, Ma
23 January 2004

"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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25 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

A Difficult Movie to *Feel*

Author: POPSCENE from Columbus, OH
30 January 1999

I wish that this film could have been better--and it could have, in many ways. First of all the acting was quite good, particularly Tamlyn Tomita whose charm and beauty make for radiant scenes. And the sets/cinematography allowed for a good deal of authenticity.

However, the difficulty I have with the film concerns--as other reviewers have noted--a wandering and unfocused script. Although Alan Parker allows for an accurate (for the most part) and revealing look at life in the internment camps, we rarely see anything from Jack's (Dennis Quaid) perspective. What happened to him after he went AWOL? How long were they apart? Also, the difficulties that everyone had with the marriage between Lily and Jack are resolved without any discussion. She simply comes home from Seattle and all is forgiven? The cultural tensions and familial disputes were left behind in favor of a highly politicized second half.

In order to fit in the family conflicts and internment episodes, the romance between Lily and Jack is hastened to the point of non-existence in the second half hour. Therefore the audience had little reason to dread their eventual separation, and rejoice in their ultimate reunion.

Finally, on an historical note, the Supreme Court case Korematsu vs. U.S. (1944) upheld the constitutionality of the internment camps. The movie portrayed a victorious Supreme Court decision that allowed for all internees to return to freedom. However, the US government did not officially recognize the unconstitutionality of Executive Order 9066 until 1988, with a Congressional apology and restitution.

Overall, because of the highly-charged emotional potential of the subject matter, I had expected a film with a little more feeling. And if a director/writer is going to make a political movie to illuminate a dark period of American history, he should at least get his facts straight.


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19 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

A Dark Time For America

Author: chinaskee from United States
4 July 2001

This is one of the most powerful films that I have seen about the Japanese-American experience in the internment camps during WW2.The think that struck me from the very beginning was that these folk were just as American as any of us.They,too,were just trying to live the American Dream,until the policies of the US Government took their dreams away from them.History has a bad habit of repeating itself,and movies like this remind us that regardless of race,creed,or color,we're all just Americans.This was a bad time for US domestic policy,and hopefully a shameful policy like this will never rear its ugly head again in our country.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Don't simply accept the Face Page description-see for yourself

Author: tadeo38 from Omaha NE
11 February 2007

The "Front-Page" review of this film gives the impression that it is not worth seeing "because the plot is wandering" and other unfair accusations. Instead, take a look at Roger Ebert's fine review under the External review portion of IMDb. I first purchased this film back in the days of the Laser Disc, and I know that my "ancient by today's standards" Pioneer player....and perhaps I'm in violation of copyright laws, but I am transferring all my laser discs to DVD, and I cannot possibly think of a finer film to witness the discriminatory laws that existed during the early days of WWII....even if the focus is on an Irish-American played by Dennis Quaid....and you must see the early scene in which he dances/sings to a Japanese song that he has memorized by his position as Projectionist in a Japanese-American theatre in San Francisco. And for those who might enjoy a Jarre/Barry type film score, this one is haunting and lovely. Ignore the reviewer and give this terrific film a chance, and I'll bet you'll love it.

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Great movie about Asian American culture!

Author: ( from Belmont, CA
7 October 2001

I really loved this movie. It was informational and had a beautiful storyline. I generally don't get my knowledge from movies because they are often very inaccurate but I know this one is based on facts as I have done some research about internment camps for a class paper. I know that the story between Jack and lily is entirely made up, but all the historical events aren't. Also, I feel that movie directors and studios should make more movies with Asian characters and about Asian in America because I find it very interesting. I am not Asian, not one little bit and I am getting tired of seeing always the same kind of people on movie screens. I know that the studios have come a long way but they need to make more movies like this one, and believe that there is an audience (not obviously Asian) interested in seeing them. If you have not seen this movie, get some popcorn, unplug the phone and enjoy.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A precursor of The Siege, a WWII Romeo/Juliet w/ happier ending.

Author: Flickfan-3
30 July 1999

This movie has faults--don't they all. Have found it very helpful in teaching a variety of concepts to sophomore and junior English students. The scenes showing Lily and her family forced out of their homes by Americans, marching to the train station in total silence except for their haunting, now-forbidden Japanese music are always received with great concentration and silence by my classes--a high tribute to Mr. Parker's ability to let a picture speak for itself. Come to the Paradise offers a refreshingly different viewpoint of a critical point in American history for those of us who prefer a little something to chew on besides popcorn at the movies.

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16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Fine, but not perfect

Author: Pro Jury
14 April 2001

During WWII, Japanese Americans are stripped of their property and sent to prison camps in California. Also seemingly taken away is the family life of an American man and his Japanese soulmate.

This is powerful material and COME SEE THE PARADISE does well as a first attempt. Surely, sooner or later more talented directors will revisit this bit of history and hit a home run.

Few movie fans know that STAR TREK's George Takei (Mr. Sulu) lived with his family in these California concentration camps during WWII. Both his father and grandmother died in them.

As ROOTS showed us the reality of slavery in America, as GERONIMO taught us that the taking of the West was an ugly affair devoid of justice, as the DEAR HUNTER told us that the troubles of Vietnam were deeper than reported on the evening news; COME SEE THE PARADISE gives us an imperfect glimps of some of our darkest mistakes of WWII.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Come See the Paradise an excellent film.

Author: MovieCriticMarvelfan from california
7 August 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Come see the Paradise" is an amazing film in essence this film does what Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 911" do remind us of an ugly of American history commited by several abusive bureaucractic leaders imposing their form of corrupted civil governments and laws.

The film takes place during WWII and like "Snow Falling on Cedars" (another great story about the anti-Japanse movement during this time) is about an American, who falls in love with a Japanese women. The two fall in love regardless of their race backgrounds.

The girls fathers does not like the White Man, but eventually the family accepts him as partof the family, and this LOVE IS TESTED during the war.

Dennis Quaid stars as Jack McGurn a liberal Irish activist who is trying to believe form a union, now forming a Union back then was like being a Communist in this warp view of America. It was pure nonsense and people like disgraced military men like MacArthur and other abusive military leaders wanted to quite down people who spoke out against governemnt corruption. This of course has been the case across history , even movie directors like the late great Elia Kaza have been targeted. Back to the movie:

Tamyln Tomita as the love interest, Lily Yuriko , is absolutely great portraying all the anguish of a women in love, but then feels pain and sorrow when she sees her own people being put in Concentration Camps by the Americans and are given no rights, no real jobs (except menial low paying ones) and no hope.

(Spoilers) During one dramatic and painful sequence that has to be seen the father is arrrested for no reason and taken into custody, he is then released and is then labeled as traitor leading into a great depression which eventually hurts his spirits and he dies. Quaid deserves a great recommendation for his performance as one of a few Americans who sees whats going and realizes that this is wrong. At one point, like many men he is forcibly drag into the war, and then goes AWOL to see his love and her Japanese family to provide support its very touching still the US carries it's vendetta with the Japanese leading to Atom bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and the bombing

of Pearl Harbor.

If you don't cry watching this movie there is something wrong with you as "Come See The Paradise" by Alan Parker has great dramatic performance , a great score by Randy Edelman and a true life story that SHOULD NOT be forgotten.

The movie is also told primarily through the narration of Lily

the main character does giving us a very intimate and real

portrayal of the evennts unfolding onscreen.

Truly an amazing movie, in fact see it with "Fahrenheit 911" so you can see some historic, dramatic events that we as Americans should not forget and learn from.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Memorable Performances

Author: gigan-92 from United States
9 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, I recently experienced "Come See the Paradise" with Dennis Quad. The movie tells the often overlooked and not widely known story of Japanese Americans before, during and after WWII. This film was incredible to say the least, the characters very well drawn up and telling a simple love story beautifully. The performances are memorable and one can feel the sense of conflict in these characters. At times I was actually nearly brought to tears, a rare thing for me (the only movies that have ever made me cry are "Godzilla vs. Destroyah", "I am Legend", "Pokémon 2000" ,I was like seven, "Rodan" and "Schindler's List"). The encampment of Japanese-Americans is often overshadowed by Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust, but this film shows it how it really happened. The struggle of loyalty, patriotism and freedom all are called out in this movie quite nicely, the director just telling it how it is, you know? The story is sad one that finally lives up to its title, although I couldn't really enjoy it the first time around with my history teacher treating us like five year olds! I only wish it had a scene of the Atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki or Hiroshima. It would of helped audiences understand the atrocity of using such a weapon on defenseless civilians.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

not bad melodrama, good performances, decent substance

Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
17 June 2007

Of all places, I remember seeing this film in an English class in senior year of High School (something to do with civil rights, not really to do with the quality of writing per-say), to give all the sides to the problems of equality in the American experience. Come See the Paradise does chronicle a crucial blunder during the second world war- the kind of lesson to be learned from it that does need to be learned in regards to the present- though I could imagine a better film being made at some point on the subject. This is the big chunk of it, anyway, the one that would get spoken of if passed along to someone as a one-line note. But there's also a romantic plot to it, relating the experience so that it's personal and not just an abstract form of a nightmarish reality.

Dennis Quaid and Tamlyn Tomita play the romantic interest of the picture, Quaid playing a regular Joe who comes to work at a movie theater in Little Tokyo, meets the boss's daughter played by Tomita, and soon they fall for each other quite deeply. But as it's forbidden by the girl's father, they still try and sneak away anyway to have their love. Then come the internment camps, the camps created as a homegrown quasi concentration camp for the Japanese, where in Lily is once again with her family, away from her great love. It isn't exactly the most sunny of entertainments, and Alan Parker's writing is nowhere near the level of finesse and maturity his direction has, but there could be a lot worse as far as bludgeoning-over-the-head movie-making. I can also see, from my recollection, that it is understandably one of the least seen of Parker's films.

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