Any parent who has had to advocate for their child will find something to relate to in Chinese-American director Ann Hu’s well-intentioned and gently moving drama. It’s loosely inspired by her own experiences raising a dyslexic daughter, fictionalised here into the story of an illiterate woman who goes to the ends of the earth – at least that’s how it feels – in emigrating from China to New York to get specialist educational support for her seven-year-old.
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The acting is patchy in places, but Harmonie He marches away with the movie with a lively performance as sunny little Meimei, unable to read or write despite being seemingly bright in other ways. Her mother, Lulu (Jiang Ruijia), works in a factory and, realising that her daughter is not progressing at school, sets about finding a solution. The nearest city with a specialist dyslexia centre is New York, so she decides to move there –leaving behind everything and everyone she knows.
It’s all very low-key and unshowy, but Hu has a light touch with the material and manages to wring some pathos from the situation without ever descending into melodrama. It’s an effective little film that makes its points without hammering them home.
According to the dictionary, the definition of ‘confetti’ is ‘small pieces or streamers of paper that are thrown around at parties or celebrations, typically as part of a festivities’. It seems apt then that this film should be called ‘Confetti’ because it celebrates motherhood and the lengths some mothers will go to give their children the best possible chance in life.
It is also a film about hope, determination and resilience. Lulu may not be able to read or write herself, but she is determined to do whatever it takes to get her daughter the help she needs. And when she finally arrives in New York, she finds herself up against more obstacles than she could have ever anticipated.
But despite all the setbacks, Lulu never gives up. She is a woman on a mission and will not rest until her daughter can read and write like everyone else.
It is a touching, heartwarming and uplifting story that will resonate with anyone who has ever had to fight for their child. It is a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope.
And that is something worth celebrating.
What do you think?