An Asian-American actor, living in Los Angeles, is forced to reconsider his roots as well as the possibilities afforded him by his present situation after suddenly inheriting his grandmother's home in Shanghai.
It's the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip-hop. Set against this backdrop, a lonely teenager named Luke Shapiro spends his last summer before university selling marijuana throughout New York City, trading it with his unorthodox psychotherapist for treatment, while having a crush on his stepdaughter.
A struggling Chinese-American actor, who unwittingly finds himself involved with a high school girl, learns he has inherited his grandmother's home in Shanghai. The American-raised character moves to China in an attempt to connect with his ancestry, leaving behind quite possibly the only girl who has ever loved him. Written by
When Joel returns to the table he is clearly seen holding a single serving butter pack in his left hand as he sits down, but as we switch to a different camera angle, he is holding a fork. See more »
Listen to yourself, man! You're moving to Shanghai for a girl! A *Chinese* girl for Godsakes!
This is not just about the girl.
Then what is it?
It just -- it *feels* right! I'm Chinese. I gotta go back to my roots.
All right, slow down, Kunta Kinte. You don't even speak Chinese. What the hell are you gonna do? What, drive a rickshaw?
I can learn Chinese.
Learn Chinese?! Liam, you barely speak English!
Don't call me Liam. Liam's my slave name.
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There is so much that has been said already about this film in the previous comments. I just want to add my bit about what I liked in the film. Recently lot of films coming out of Hollywood are daring to explore the question of identity. After 9/11, US government and its institutions are now looking beyond Latin America and Europe. There is both a positive and negative engagement with the other cultures and civilizations. Negative comes out in its dealing with Iraq, Afganistan, Korea and Iran.
Positive form of engagement is seen in the genuine interest in their language, culture and migrants from these countries. There is now a renewed vigour among the American students to learn Arabic, Urdu, Bangla, Hindi, Chinese and other Asian and African languages. Now there is more grant for University Departments dealing with these areas in US. Overall, people are reading more, listening more and watching more to understand more about these people. These nationalities are not just "out there" but they are also "in here" living amongst them as a silent, though a vibrant and prosperous minority of the US society.
Two films dealing with the similar theme of cultural identity and rootlessness came out in theaters this year namely, The Namesake and Shanghai Kiss. Both of them describe a protagonist who is lost and feels isolated and rootless in the cold and desolate American cities. Both have a protagonist that undertakes a journey home to rediscover his roots but comes back feeling more rootless. Both explore the basic question that every migrant faces: Where is the Home? And both the films in some way or the other try to answer that question by invoking a universal emotion called LOVE.
I being an Indian should identify more with The Namesake but thats not the case. I found Shanghai Kiss a lot better. The Namesake was backed by the bestselling book by Jhumpa Lahiri for its story but the story limits the flow of the movie in more ways than one. The pace is slow, very slow and it drags. Arty Stuff, Haan! But Shanghai Kiss dazzles us with its witty dialog, fast pace and great performances by all the actors. Even when it explores the question of identity it never resorts to over-sentimentalism.
I recommend Shanghai Kiss to everyone who is looking for a great Comedy. Although I am not a big fan of comedy (Drama is my thing) But once in a long while there comes a comedy that makes U sit up and take notice. Last time it happened when Elizabethtown was out and now it has happened with Shanghai Kiss. And you can clearly see why? Both films explore the same themes, both involve a journey for the protagonist to trace one's roots, both have great dialog and both are also cute love stories.
Go and watch Shanghai Kiss, if you loved When Harry Met Sally you are going to digg this one too.
P.S. I heard the producers trying hard to get The Namesake nominated for Oscars. Producers of Shanghai Kiss Wake Up!
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