Mindy Ho, an eccentric, strong-minded 12-year-old, stages Taoist magical experiments to save her harried single mother from financial and romantic ruin. Her misdirected charms appear to cause an aging security guard to lose his job and a local butcher to win the lottery, ultimately forcing each man to face his worst fears. Whether it's through Mindy's spells, her monumental sense of purpose--or it's that life's mysterious logic is at work--her mother's drab existence is enlivened. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
A wistful and occasionally hilarious film about taking charge...the wrong way!
While criticized by the one viewer over the film's perceived cultural inaccuracies, I found this film to be delightful and touching. The setting is an Asian enclave in a Northwest Canadian coastal city where a 12 year old girl, lives with her mom who struggles to make ends meet (Dad abandoned them both a long time before)and never takes time for her own needs. In the same community is a man who owns a barbecue store which he intends to have his 20 year old son take over (but the son has other ideas), and a security guard who, with his lovely wife, is adjusting to the departure of their last child from the home.
The girl begins an intense study of Chinese magic in an attempt to help her mother win the lottery and a husband. Her amateurish application of magic, which, in a touch of magical realism seems to actually work (think Gabriel Garcia Marquez meets Ang Lee), but not as originally intended. As things get worse, the girl, literally playing with fire, tries one magic weapon she had not dared to use before.
The beauty of this film is in the human story which has an Asian flavor, accurate or not, but which could have been set in the deep south (think "the heart is a lonely hunter"), Brooklyn, or anywhere there are single mothers struggling to raise children and children beginning to have dreams for their lives. Of course I don't believe in magic, Chinese or otherwise, but is is a wonderful vehicle that makes the story move forward on everyman's (and every-girl's) journey to Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity.
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