The passionate romance between an Irish-American man and a Japanese-American woman is threatened when the Pearl Harbor attacks happen and the woman is forced into a prison camp because of her ethnicity.
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Portraying one of the shadier details of American history, this is the story of Jack McGurn, who comes to Los Angeles in 1936. He gets a job at a movie theatre in Little Tokyo and falls in love with the boss's daughter, Lily Kawamura. When her father finds out, he is fired and forbidden ever to see her again. But together they escape to Seattle. When the war breaks out, the authorities decide that the Japanese immigrants must live in camps like war prisoners.Written by
Movie about the Japanese internment camps during WWII. It starts in 1936 when angry union organizer Jack (Dennis Quaid) meets beautiful Japanese-American Lily (Tamlyn Tomita) and falls in love. They get married, have a child...and then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. All Japanese people, Americans or not, lost their homes, their businesses and were shipped out to internment camps to "protect" them. It shows how the camps affect Lilly, her family and Jack.
As far as I know this is the only commercial film to deal with one of the more horrifying chapters in American history. Too bad it just isn't that good. It was made on a big budget with a sweeping music score and good performances by all (Quaid was just fantastic) but the script just wasn't that good. If jumps all over the place and it's hard to get a handle on what's going on. The flashback structure used in the film is confusing and intrusive. It starts off by Lily telling the child about what happened. They show the story, you're getting all caught up in the characters and situations--and then you're back to Lily talking to her kid. It pulls you completely out of the film. Also, all the Japanese characters seem to meekly agree to go to the camps. Wasn't there any anger at all? Any fighting back? I question how truthful that was.
As for the internment camps this is definitely a bleak chapter in history. It wasn't even taught in schools until the 1980s! Doing this film (which came out in 1990) was pretty risky and the studio seemed to get scared. It was barely released and the ads concentrated on the love story NOT the internment one. It played in Boston for only two weeks with next to no advertisements at a tiny little theatre--I managed to catch it before it closed. This film lost a ton of money. Director-writer Alan Parker said the studio agreed with him later on--that they had "f***ed up" (his words not mine) on the release. Still--it just isn't that good. I never once felt emotionally involved with the characters or situations. It gets a 7 as a good attempt at a very difficult subject.
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