Film Review: ‘Bitter Melon’

  • Variety
Film Review: ‘Bitter Melon’
Domestic violence and black comedy don’t seem a natural match, but to an impressive degree “Bitter Melon” pulls off their shotgun marriage. This third and best directorial feature to date for H.P. Mendoza, best known for writing, composing and starring in 2006’s “Colma: The Musical” (which Richard Wong directed), revolves around an eventful long Christmas weekend for members of a Filipino-American family with a history of abusive fathers. The complex tonal, textural and thematic mix here doesn’t always work, but it’s always interesting and often invigorating.

Christmas in San Francisco may not require winter wear, but there’s a certain amount of frost in the air as the Santos clan convenes for a rare (and nearly full) family reunion. Gay youngest son Declan (Jon Norman Schneider) has flown in from Manhattan, with eldest Moe (Brian Rivera) from Philadelphia, both returning for for the first time in years.
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