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Reviews & Ratings for
Journey from the Heart More at IMDbPro »My American Vacation (original title)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

wonderfully entertaining

Author: larthurs from studio city, california
27 November 2002

i am truly delighted that vv dachin hsu brought to screen 'my american vacation.' i am familiar with other works by the actors and the music director. the film was well paced at 1.5 hrs. wonderfully entertaining because i have experienced a very similar vacation so i laughed through half the film. beulah quo, tsai chin, dennis dun, roger fan, sasha hsuczyk, kim miyori, deborah nishimura - the actors 'fit' their roles perfectly. joel iwataki's music was truly special and gave the film 'magic.' the overall energy of the film was so embracing i felt like part of the vacation. i recommend it to all who just want to be wonderfully entertained by three generations of family, from two continents, vacationing together in a very very small space.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable movie.

10/10
Author: rollingpix from Los Angeles, Calif.
5 May 2003

Enjoyable movie. A family adventure. Well written and directed, and beautifully acted by a stellar cast. A good sense of humor and fine details about the mix-ups of contemporary family life. If you're tired of the usual big Hollywood noisemakers, then watch this one.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Strength of vision, and inventive score...

Author: dave-1036 from Los Angeles, CA
28 November 2002

I found this to be a very touching film about a Chinese-American family that makes new discoveries about themselves when they take a vacation together. VV Dachin Hsu, the writer-director, must be applauded for having the strength to write and produce a film about a Chinese- American family, and if more people had her vision, then maybe there would be more and better roles for all Asian - American actors. The cast in My American Vacation, are all proven veterans of film and stage that help bring the story to life. We feel their pain, we feel their joy. Their acting coupled with an evocative and inventive score, composed by Joel Iwataki, has me waiting in anticipation of Ms. Hsu's next film.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Heartwarming Film of 3 generations an Asian/Asian-American Family

9/10
Author: Tara K. Inouye-Hill from West Hollywood, California
27 November 2002

This film is a heartwarming "female" family film which shows the diversity, yet also the sameness, of 3 generations of an Asian/Asian American family. Although Dennis Dun excellently plays the good-natured, accommodating son-in-law to the compelling Tsai Chin, the film focuses on the familial relationships between the women - grandmother, daughters/sisters & granddaughter on a trip in an RV through "America." The wonderful cameos of established Asian American character actresses, most notably Beulah Quo, as the 3 friends of the grandmothers congratulating, then anxiously perusing the postcards from their friend on her trip to "America", gives the film a flavor that touches the heart and warms the soul. The conflicts between and ever-changing emotional states of the characters hit true if one is familiar with Asian American culture, as well as dealing with universal situations, such as that sister rivalry & that of the older daughter Ming Yee's divorce from her spouse & justifying same to her young daughter (and the grandmother's efforts not to further strain the father-daughter relationship by trying to come to a compromise), which holds true in any culture. This is a "must-see" film for any Asian or Pan-Asian, but is also a very universal-themed film that any non-Asian will understand. This is an independent film, not one made to cater to the masses strictly for a profit - it tells a true story and would be appreciated by any true film lover. GO SEE IT!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fine family entertainment, especially for softies.

Author: eshelby from Los Angeles, California
26 November 2002

In a rare opportunity for the entire family to spend the first time together in a long while, a grandmother, her two daughters, joined by their families, take a motor home trip in the Rockies. This wizened Chinese grandmother (played by Tsai Chin, who was the original Suzy Wong in the London West End world premiere of "The World Of Suzy Wong"), is replete with the calming influences of eastern meditative arts and cleverly finds subtle ways to get through to her feuding Chinese-American daughters, even when counsel and reprimand fail. This film, which received positive reviews at the film festivals, is rich with inspiring open country cinematography and an abundance of running waters. The scenes of this comedy/drama are pleasantly enhanced with a moving sound track. The movie subtly ends the same way it begins, with Grandma performing her beloved Tai Chi. Only this time she is doing it with her daughters.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Great ACTING, Great Story, Great fun! This film should have more buzz!

10/10
Author: Gilda Lee from San Diego, CA
26 November 2002

What a treasure this film is! Too often Asian women are seen as the passive, the unambitious (unless they are portrayed as an ambitious hooker!), the sensual-- filmmaker VV Hsu moves all those assumptions aside in this breakthrough film that should have more press. I was lucky to catch it at a film fest where the reaction was the same all over, "This film should get more attention!" Finally a story that anyone can relate to. A family vacation that is supposed to bring together three generations, but nobody can really get along. Sounds like my family! Tsai Chin is excellent as the matriarch who brings the family together with her tough love attitude! The sisters Ming Na and Ming Yee who bicker and fight like kids cracked me up and the young daughter who is more kept together than the two of them combined paints a perfect and complete picture! The characters are rich, the acting is enviable, and the story is perhaps timeless! The cinematography is sweeping and gorgeous. It ultimately is a story about love, forgiveness and togetherness. Well done! My heart is warmed! 10/10!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A heartwarming family film that captures the essence of a Family Vacation in cramp quarters!

10/10
Author: wowproductions from Pasadena, CA
26 November 2002

I totally enjoyed this vacation captured by filmmaker VV Hsu. A film about three generations of women with mother played by Tsai Chin (whom I loved in the Joy Luck Club)coming from China to take a real "American Vacation" with two sibling sisters and a 7-year old granddaughter as well as one lonely 'husband' in the cramped quarters of an RV - you can only imagine some of the conflicts that arise.

The complex and interesting relationship between these three generations of women as well as the side-show relationship of the two sisters cuts across all ethnic lines and this could be any family on a vacation - we can all relate to these relationships. And these women really kick up a storm in this movie.

I especially enjoyed some of the quiet moments of the trips as each would go off by themselves to capture private moments. At the end of this film I truly felt as if I too had been on a vacation.

And the post cards and letters that Tsai Chin's character wrote to her friends back in China about the successes of her family (in direct contrast to what was actually happening) was hilarious. It was especially wonderful to see one of her friends in China played by talented actress Beulah Quo - she radiates her charm in this cameo role and brings the friends alive in their letters from their friend from America.

There are so few films that address matters of the heart and things that matter. This one moved me to those deep soft places in your heart that you keep hidden to the world. When you see this film it takes us to our own families with our lost dreams, jealousies and hidden desires and helps us to seek our own hidden treasures - you suddenly feel your heart wild and alive again.

When you feel you really need time out - need a vacation, watch My American Vacation the scenes are beautiful and Hsu captures the mood of vacationing and seeing the countryside in an RV - you will feel you have been on a majestic and beautiful trip on the inside as well as on the outside!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Family Movie, Heartwarming, great story, and welldone!

10/10
Author: flyingwong from los angeles
22 November 2002

I had the pleasure of watching this film during one of it's public screenings. I guess it screens for families at a school in my neigborhhod pretty frequently. A great idea since it's not a film that I have to feel dragged to for my daughter's sake. It really is a FAMILY FILM.

I brought my mother and my young daughter to the screening and all of us fell in love with it. And found ourselves laughing on the way out of the screening! Mostly because we could totally relate to the characters, who are similarly three generations of Chinese women.

The story is about three generations of one family who go on a vacation in a goofy trailer. Tsai Chin, who was Lindo in the Joy Luck Club, is just as hilarious and collected as she was in that movie as the mother who keeps everyone together. (My mother who doesn't understand that much English was saying after how she is so like her.) And my daughter feel in love with the actress who plays Kim Miyori's daughter.

The film is beautiful. The scenic shots are absolutely stunning.

There are wonderful shots of Taiwan and then beautiful sweeping shots of the campground where the finally park.

I think it is being distributed on video and will probably purchase a couple of copies for my family and one for my daughter's school.

Finally a women's movie, a family movie, and a fun movie-- all in one! Two thumbs up!

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Touching, entertaining 3-generation family film

9/10
Author: taralegal from West Hollywood, California
16 December 2002

Heartwarming "female" family film which shows diversity, yet also sameness, of 3 generations of an Asian/Asian American family. Although Dennis Dun excellently plays the good-natured, accommodating son-in-law to the compelling Tsai Chin, the film focuses on the familial relationships between the women - grandmother, daughters/sisters & granddaughter on a trip in an RV through "America." The wonderful cameos of established Asian American character actresses, most notably Beulah Quo, as the 3 friends of the grandmothers congratulating, then anxiously perusing the postcards from, their friend on her trip to "America", gives the film a flavor that touches the heart and warms the soul. Conflicts between and ever-changing emotional states of the characters hit true if one is familiar with Asian American culture, as well as dealing with universal situations, such as that sister rivalry & that of the older daughter Ming Yee's divorce from her spouse & justifying same to her young daughter (and the grandmother's efforts not to further strain the father-daughter relationship by trying to come to a compromise), which holds true in any culture. This is a "must-see" film for any Asian or Pan-Asian, but is also a very universal-themed film that any non-Asian will understand. Music score & cinematography adds a poetic touch to the film. An independent film, not one made to cater to the masses strictly for a profit - it tells a true story and would be appreciated by any true film lover. GO SEE IT!

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Disappointing movie about a Chinese family reunion

3/10
Author: Raymond Tan from Singapore
5 June 2000

Even the presence of well known stage actress Tsai Chin fails to save this movie that starts brightly but tails off into a mundane and predictable fare. The story centers on Grandma Lee's(Tsai Chin) visit to the US to see the families of her two Chinese daughters, Ming Yee and Ming Na, played ironically by two Japanese actresses, Kim Miyori and Deborah Nishimura.

The whole gang then decides to take a vacation by driving a caravan to the rocky mountains in Colorado. It's not the destination that is important but the opportunity for all of them to spend 'quality time' together. Grandma and her two daughters discover that they really don't know one another. The two sisters bicker throughout but a near tragic accident brings the family together again.

This movie starts with a refreshing comedic feel that raises a few good chuckles, but sadly this deteriorates badly once the maudlin and sentimental stuff came along. The conclusion is an anti-climax and you just don't feel like you've watched anything worthwhile, unlike the excellent Ang Lee film 'Eat Drink Man Woman', which was both funny and heartwarming.

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