The passionate romance between an Irish-American man and a Japanese-American woman is threatened when the Pearl Harbor attacks happen and the woman is forced into a prison camp because of her ethnicity.
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Portraying one of the shadier details of American history, this is the story of Jack McGurn, who comes to Los Angeles in 1936. He gets a job at a movie theatre in Little Tokyo and falls in love with the boss's daughter, Lily Kawamura. When her father finds out, he is fired and forbidden ever to see her again. But together they escape to Seattle. When the war breaks out, the authorities decide that the Japanese immigrants must live in camps like war prisoners.Written by
The American Civil Liberties Union has stated that the internment of Japanese Americans in the Japanese-American internment camps as being "the worst wholesale violation of civil rights of American citizens in our history". See more »
During the destroying Japanese businesses scene, one of the broken windows is made from safety glass. See more »
I wish that this film could have been better--and it could have, in many ways. First of all the acting was quite good, particularly Tamlyn Tomita whose charm and beauty make for radiant scenes. And the sets/cinematography allowed for a good deal of authenticity.
However, the difficulty I have with the film concerns--as other reviewers have noted--a wandering and unfocused script. Although Alan Parker allows for an accurate (for the most part) and revealing look at life in the internment camps, we rarely see anything from Jack's (Dennis Quaid) perspective. What happened to him after he went AWOL? How long were they apart? Also, the difficulties that everyone had with the marriage between Lily and Jack are resolved without any discussion. She simply comes home from Seattle and all is forgiven? The cultural tensions and familial disputes were left behind in favor of a highly politicized second half.
In order to fit in the family conflicts and internment episodes, the romance between Lily and Jack is hastened to the point of non-existence in the second half hour. Therefore the audience had little reason to dread their eventual separation, and rejoice in their ultimate reunion.
Finally, on an historical note, the Supreme Court case Korematsu vs. U.S. (1944) upheld the constitutionality of the internment camps. The movie portrayed a victorious Supreme Court decision that allowed for all internees to return to freedom. However, the US government did not officially recognize the unconstitutionality of Executive Order 9066 until 1988, with a Congressional apology and restitution.
Overall, because of the highly-charged emotional potential of the subject matter, I had expected a film with a little more feeling. And if a director/writer is going to make a political movie to illuminate a dark period of American history, he should at least get his facts straight.
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