Henry Golding leads this homecoming drama from Indie filmmaker Hong Khaou. Telling a story that features a very personal storyline amidst a very specific cultural background can always be a challenge when it comes to reaching a wider audience. But there will always be elements audiences can relate to in some way, and in the case of Monsoon, that comes in the story of a man who feels alienated by his own homeland.
Golding plays Kit, who is returning to Vietnam for the first time in 30 years after his family fled the country during the war between Vietnam and America. There, he aims to reconnect with the people and places that only exist as a hazy memory, as he looks for the perfect spot to rest his late parents’ ashes.
There is plenty going on here from a thematic point of view for many people to connect to, even though it is the journey of a Vietnamese man reconnecting, or struggling to reconnect, to a place he only knew as a child. Anybody who has left their home for a long period of time can relate to that disconnect that Kit feels upon returning to Vietnam. It is a disconnect that colours most of the relationships within the film, even as Kit looks to open up to his romantic interest, Lewis (Parker Sawyers). There are plenty of awkward conversations with cousins who are effectively strangers, and alienation caused by Kit having forgotten how to speak Vietnamese. There are also the doubts floating around Kit’s mind over whether this is what his parents would want, a feeling many of us can surely relate to.
Full review over at Filmhounds Magazine, originally published September 17th 2020.