Scent of Green Papaya

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +2

In Vietnamese, with English subtitles, SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA is set in Saigon in 1951. It offers a different side of life in Viet Nam that only hints of the coming political unrest through the daily siren blasts signaling curfew. Ten-year-old Mui (Lu Man San) arrives by foot to become the new servant for a merchant family of six. The family has its share of personal problems. They are still mourning the death of a young daughter several years earlier. Moreover, the husband (Tran Ngoc Trang) has a history of disappearing for long periods of time with his family's money. The wife (Truong Thi Loc) endures these desertions stoically. Through it all, Mui enjoys a life of more constancy and quiet than those around her, even while scrubbing floors or cooking sumptuous feasts. Ten years pass, and she moves on to become a servant to a wealthy young musician whom she has admired for years. While he plays Gershwin-like tunes at his black baby grand piano, twenty-year-old Mui (Tran Nu Yen-Khe) cooks, cleans, scrubs and polishes for him. The gentle and patient ways of the Vietnamese play out against a background of native music and beautiful cinematography. While the pace may be too slow for most, those who enjoy realistic character studies will find themselves engrossed in SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA. It has been nominated for the best foreign language film of the year.

This is a delightful story of love, caring, and simply dealing with everyday problems, refreshingly free of objectionable elements. Especially poignant is the scene where the mother-in-law blames her daughter-in-law for her husband's disappearance, telling her she is not good enough for him and cannot make him happy. Only four exclamatory profanities mar the otherwise clean dialogue. Twice a young boy urinates with his back to the screen, once facing a shocked Mui. He also lifts his leg twice, making a crude noise. There is no sexually-explicit language in the subtitles nor any such behavior portrayed. An affair is implied in the last scene, when a young unmarried girl turns up pregnant. What a pity GREEN PAPAYAS will probably not reach wide audiences because it lacks the box-office-appeal elements of sex, nudity and violence.

Preview Reviewer: Alice Anderson
First Look Pictures Releasing

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Exclamatory - four times

Violence: Mild (girl gets angry and smashes vases)

Sex: None (but affair implied)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Mature adults

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