Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 2007. Saltmill, Myriad Pictures. Story by Shi-Zheng Chen, Billy Shebar, Screenplay by Billy Shebar. Cinematography by Oliver Bokelberg. Produced by Andrea Miller, Mary Salter, Janet Yang. Music by Van Dyke Parks. Production Design by Dina Goldman. Costume Design by Elizabeth Caitlin Ward. Film Editing by Michael Berenbaum, Pam Wise.
Tragic true story about a transfer student from China (Ye Liu) who comes to study cosmology at Valley State University under the guidance of his mentor, played by Aidan Quinn. Liu dreams of winning the Nobel Prize, and works endless hours for his beloved professor while enjoying the welcome wagon provided by Chinese culture enthusiast and local do-gooder socialite Meryl Streep, aspiring as much to the American Dream as to his scholastic achievements. When his work encounters resistance from Quinn, who gets nervous about his student’s accomplishments and prefers to hand the power over to a student more willing to tow his line, Liu’s disillusionment reaches shattering conclusions. It’s a minor drama that never quite boils over, but the performances are strong and the story is a very powerful criticism about America’s double-standard attitude towards both foreigners and success. Streep is too good for the role she is provided with here, but she gives it a lot of heart.