Beautiful Country, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1 1/2

In a poignant story of hope and redemption, Binh (Damien Nguyen), now in his early 20s, has always been an outcast because his mother was Vietnamese and his father was an American soldier. Called Bui Doi, which means less than dust, Binh begins a long, dangerous journey to find his parents. He finds his mother, Mai (Chau Thi Kim Xuan), working for a wealthy family in Saigon, but their joy at being reunited is short-lived when it becomes dangerous for him to stay with her. Mai gives her son all her savings, arranges for him to leave Vietnam and insists that he take her three-year-old son, Tam (Tran Dang Quoc Thinh). Binh and Tam end up in a refugee camp in Malaysia, where he meets Ling (Bai Ling), a Chinese prostitute who befriends the two. She buys passage for them on an immigrant smuggling ship. Binh eventually finds his way to Texas and his father (Nick Nolte).

The Beautiful Country tells a beautiful story slightly sullied. The R rating is for two uses of the f-word and one crude sexual gesture, which are disappointing for a story with so many positive messages. Binh, a young man who has endured rejection all his life, holds no grudges. When he and his mother are reunited, he shows no resentment or bitterness, only joy over his first time to feel loved. He, in turn, pours out love for his young half brother and protects him throughout the dangerous trip. Binh and Ling fall in love, and sex is implied once. Violence, which includes a woman struck and killed by a heavy object, a beating, a shooting and a riot at the internment camp, is neither gratuitous nor gory. Once the smuggled immigrants arrive in New York, Ling goes back to her old profession, and Binh knows he cannot have a relationship with a prostitute. Filled with drama, sadness and joy, this cinematic journey celebrates the human spirit.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Sony Pictures Classics

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: Few (2) times strong (f-word 2)

Profanity: None

Violence: Several times moderate (elderly woman killed accidentally by falling object, crazed prisoner beaten, riot breaks out in refugee camp, ruthless captain kills partner with no warning)

Sex: Once mild (implied as woman gives man his first kiss)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (crude sexual gesture, prostitute groped by customer in club, man caresses servant briefly)

Drugs: Few times mild (some alcohol drinking)

Other: A need to experience love drives young man to find his family

Running Time: 125 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.