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A look at the inspiration behind Thomas Kinkade's painting The Christmas Cottage, and how the artist was motivated to begin his career after discovering his mother was in danger of losing their family home.
Marcia Gay Harden
In 1882, Alfred Nichol, owner of the Nichol Railway Company, is building a railroad through the Canadian Rockies. He sends his irresponsible playboy son, James Nichol, to Hong Kong to check on the company's recruitment of Chinese laborers to work on the railroad's construction. One of the laborers James brings back is a orphan boy named Little Tiger. Unknown to James, Little Tiger is actually a young woman, who is masquerading as a boy to eke out a better living for herself. She is desperate to make it to Canada to find her missing father. Professionally, Little Tiger is tasked with being a tea boy to the other laborers on the construction crew, although she really wants to work on the more lucrative explosives team as, working at a firecracker factory in Hong Kong, she learned the finer details of explosives from a master. She also learns of some improprieties within the construction camp. Personally, Little Tiger falls in love with James, an unforbidden love even if she exposes her ...Written by
This 3 hour mini about Chinese workers building the Canadian Railroads is actually very watchable and well made.
The story is well written, exciting and yet not too far out. It manages to have a gutsy brainy heroine as a central character who is a brilliant dynamite expert, with a family mission who manages to have a romance. And the whole saga finishes with a non clichéd ending. The melodramatic and action parts of the story fit in to the historical setting quite well. It has a good balance between modern sensitivities to the historical injustices and an entertaining story.
As the heroine Sun Li the Chinese actress does a convincing job against some more established actors. In her no make up boys get up, she believably manages to attract a few admirers. Peter O'Toole has a brief but memorable supporting role in the beginning. Sam Neill plays a railway company boss. His son played by Luke Macfarlane of Brothers and Sisters develops a relationship with the heroine. The acting all round including the Chinese supporting characters is high standard.
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