Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 90% · 10 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 50% · 100 ratings
IMDb Rating 6.6/10 10 561 561

Plot summary

San Francisco's Richmond District. A widow welcomes the Chinese New Year. 62 years old, she wants to make a trip to China to pay last respects to her ancestors. A fortune teller has told her this is the year she'll die, and a daughter, Geraldine, remains unmarried. Geraldine's boyfriend lives in Los Angeles and she's not sure she's ready for marriage, nor does she want to leave her mother alone in her declining years. Mrs. Tan's cheerful brother-in-law, Uncle Tam, tries to help out.

November 07, 2023 at 03:25 AM


Wayne Wang

Top cast

Amy Hill as Amy Tam
Joan Chen as Young m.j. player
Victor Wong as Uncle Tam
771 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 24 min
Seeds ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gbill-74877 7 / 10

A gentle look at two generations of Chinese Americans

Beautiful cinematography, and a gentle look at two generations of Chinese Americans, centered on a 62-year-old widow and her 30-something daughter, unmarried to the concern of her mother and her friends. The film feels highly authentic, starting with these two being played by the real-life mother/daughter pair of Laureen and Kim Chew, and much of it shot in their own San Francisco home. I loved the representation and the warmth emanating from the film, but it might have been a little too gentle for me. The emotions and humor are rather muted, and some of the more interesting action in the story is summarized after the fact, rather than shown.

Then again, like its title, the scenes Wayne Wang gives us are little bits of from the heart, little pieces of dim sum, and there is a lot of selfless love between these characters. When the mother tells the daughter something about the soup doesn't smell quite right, the daughter doesn't get miffed about what might come across as ingratitude in another culture. When the uncle (Victor Wong) is playfully rebuffed in his pragmatic offer to marry the mother, he doesn't sulk or get angry. When the daughter moves out, the mother quietly accepts her new lonely condition, even though we see what it means to her in her eyes when the door closes. What a fantastic moment that was, and impressive given Kim Chew was an amateur actor.

There is also calm acceptance over the natural "Americanization" of the younger generation. The uncle points out that this may mean the family may lose bits of cultural knowledge, like how to make Chinese sausage or pork in shrimp sauce, but it's not in a heavy-handed way, and Wang is not proselytizing. The mother drinks tea, the daughter, a can of coke. The uncle himself loves American movies, like You Can't Take It With You (1938), and after messing up while cooking, they go out for McDonald's. Cantonese and English flow together freely, as do aspects of Chinese and American culture.

The ending is rather ambiguous in one sense, as not everything that will happen to these people is spelled out, and the story has an unfinished feeling to it. On the other hand, one gets the sense that through the support of family, friends, and community, these little lives will continue to move on in harmony.

Reviewed by tavm 10 / 10

Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart is Wayne Wang's slice of life of Chinese widow and her American-raised grown daughter

Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart is basically the touching story of a Chinese immigrant widow who becomes sad because she's told by a fortune teller that she would soon die, so she constantly reminds her last single daughter to marry and resolves to visit her homeland one last time. Kim Chew is the widow and her real-life daughter Laureen is the one who feels pressured to tie the knot. They both give good, wonderfully nuanced performances along with Victor Wong as the uncle who wants to marry Kim. Look for Amy Hill, who I remember as the Grandma in "All-American Girl", as one of the other married daughters and Joan Chen as one of the young mah-jong players. Director Wayne Wang provides exquisite Chinese-American atmosphere in the Chinatown setting of California. Plenty of subtle humorous touches throughout. Nothing more to say except if you want to experience the Chinese-American way of life on film, Dim Sum is as good a place to start as any.

Reviewed by rollo_tomaso 8 / 10

Warm, sentimental and winning

This is a sweet old-fashioned and knowing valentine to Chinese American family life in San Francisco. In many ways, it seems like a predecessor to the Joy Luck Club, complete with Joan Chen as a young Mah Jongg player. The pace here is somewhat leisurely, but the vignettes are warm and satisfying enough to sustain interest throughout.

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