Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Catfish and catfights

The other night my husband fell asleep in front of some sci-fi/adventure flick on the TV, and when I went to wake him up, a movie I found at least as scary was playing instead. It was Catfish in Black Bean Sauce, a film about a Vietnamese brother and sister adopted by an African-American couple who, as adults, find their birthmother and go through a painful period of floundering around their cultural and familial identities. I of course identified most with the adoptive parents, who coped with declining amounts of grace with the way their children at least temporarily abandoned them in favor of their long-lost Ma. I could have done without the hair-pulling catfight between the two mothers, but a lot of the other dynamics felt right, including the realization by the daughter who had most sought the reunion that finding one's birthparent doesn't make everything magically right. I was glad that the movie ended with at least a truce between all the extended family members, and that, after a period of disruption, the kids took up their lives more or less as they had been. And I wondered how my husband's outspoken Italian family will react if we ever expand to accommodate a Russian birthparent or two. "Spaghetti in Sour Cream"? Coming soon to a cable movie channel near you.

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