Blue bayou **
by Justin Chon
American movie, 1 h 58
To potential employers, Antonio LeBlanc explains in a few words his birth in Korea, his adoption in Louisiana and his talent to fix everything. But that his wife soon gives birth to their child is not enough to erase in the eyes of his interlocutors two convictions for theft of motorcycles.
Married to Kathy, he brings up with her his daughter Jessie born from a previous union. Abandoned by Ace, her father, the little girl fears that history will repeat itself with Antonio. When he becomes aware of Jessie’s anxieties heightened by the imminent arrival of the baby, he takes her, parenthesis in a well-ordered daily life, to a bayou, the “secret place” where he comes to recharge his batteries.
In a film with a neat image, Justin Chon deals with many subjects which are close to his heart: the tender bond of a blended family in an America of neglected, the rapprochement of Antonio with his Asian identity thanks to his friendship. with a Vietnamese woman, her original trauma before being separated from her mother and the child abuse.
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He tackles these strong themes with undeniable sincerity, but sometimes using too strong effects, until a heartbreaking and tearful outcome. In doing so, he hits his target (he has just obtained the audience award at the Deauville festival) or annoys.
Before the 2000 Children’s Citizenship Act
The heart of his film and his purpose are nevertheless found in the threat weighing on Antonio: taken to task by Ace who is a police officer, he risks deportation to his native country, left at the age of 3.
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Indeed, until 2000, foreign children adopted by American citizens did not obtain, despite common sense, American nationality. As the law is not retroactive, between 25,000 and 49,000 people deprived of naturalization are thus likely, in the event of conflict with the law, to be sent back to a country which has not been theirs since childhood.
This spotlight on a legal aberration is served by moving actors, including Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander and little Sydney Kowalske, barely impressive.