The Beautiful Country (2004) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • After reuniting with his mother in Ho Chi Minh City, a family tragedy causes Binh to flee from Viet Nam to America. Landing in New York, Binh begins a road trip to Texas, where his American father is said to live.

  • One of the consequences of the U.S.-Viet Nam war was the children of G.I.s by their Viet Namese wives and lovers. For years, women who were involved with U.S. soldiers were social outcasts, treated as collaborators while their children, even when living with grandparents, endured taunts and abuse. This is the story of one such child, Binh, being forced from his village at seventeen years, going to Saigon to find his mother, then trying to escape to the U.S. with his much younger half-brother, Tam, in 1990. The film lingers on the rigors of the voyage: the sampan, the Malaysian detention camps, the illegal refugee ship, and the underground economy with near-slavery in New York City. It then opens up when Binh leaves New York for Houston to find his father.

  • Bui Doi ('less than dust') is the so-called minority of Viet Namese children with U.S. G.I. fathers. Binh is a "Bui Doi", living a sad and lonely existence in the countryside with his family. He's a shy and quiet young man, carrying a complex about his appearance. The only memory about his father is a photograph from his childhood. One day, Binh decides to leave the countryside and look for his mother, who works in Saigon as a maid in a residence. There, Binh will testify his mother's hard existence and discovers that he has a little half-brother. A fatal accident will be the beginning of a life full of complications for Binh. He will have to run away with his little brother in a long journey, ending up in a prison for illegal immigrants in Singapur, where he meets a Chinese girl, Ling, who is forced to prostitute herself in order to gain some special favors from the guardians. Later, Binh will find himself heading to North America in a boat captained by a kind smuggler (Tim Roth), dedicated to the traffic of illegal immigrants. However, in the U.S., Binh and Ling will have to face the reality of illegal immigrants at China Town in San Francisco, before he finally arrives Houston, Texas, where he believes his father is living.


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