This sweet confection of a movie garnered several awards for writer/director Stephane Gauger. It tells the simple story of a 10-year old girl, orphaned but exploited in the factory of her Uncle. He’s worn her down so that she has little self-worth left. When her Uncle scolds her again for daydreaming (and who can blame her for day dreaming, tasked as she is to cut 24cm reeds all day for blinds), she takes off for Saigon. There she tries her hand at buying and reselling post-cards, and then selling roses. It’s a subsistence living, but though she may be lonely, she’s free. When she makes friends first with an equally lonely flight attendant and then an awkward zoo keeper who is more comfortable around animals than around people, she’s found her new family. She’s Sparrow and he’s Owl.
The rest of the movie is about bringing her two new friends together as family, while dodging her nasty ole Uncle. Han Thi Pham, who plays the precocious Thuy, is adorable and tugs at your hardened heart strings. So, ok. The ending is a bit cornball, but would we have had it any other way? I think not.