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A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

A slight but sometimes affecting trifle
By PETER KEOUGH  |  October 15, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars

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The relationship between fathers and daughters is complicated enough without being further strained by Mao’s Cultural Revolution. In Wayne Wang’s slight but sometimes affecting trifle, however, family politics trump those of the Revolution. Mr. Shi (Henry O), just off the plane from China, observes the banalities of American suburbia with childlike wonder, taking notes on new words as if he were Roberto Benigni in Down by Law. He’s not so charmed by the plight of his deeply unhappy daughter, Yilan (Yu Feihong; in a WASP version the role would be played by Laura Linney), long repatriated in the United States and a spinsterish academic. Why doesn’t she eat more? Why doesn’t she get married? The reasons lie in the past but have nothing to do with history, and they provide less enjoyment than such simple moments as Mr. Shi chatting with a bikini-clad unemployed morgue assistant and communicating with an Iranian woman with less English than himself. Mandarin + English | 86 minutes | Kendall Square
  Topics: Reviews , Communism, Laura Linney, Roberto Benigni,  More more >
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