A Korean American man cares for his ailing mother while trying to master her traditional cooking in the latest from Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club), based on Chang-rae Lee's New Yorker short story.
Coming Home Again
Based on the personal essay by award-winning Korean-American author Chang-rae Lee (Native Speaker), the latest from veteran director Wayne Wang — last at the Festival in 2007 with A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and The Princess of Nebraska — is a profoundly moving exploration of family, identity, and inheritance.
Upon learning that his mother's cancer is advancing, Chang-rae (Justin Chon) takes a leave of absence from his job in New York and travels to San Francisco to be with his parents. Struggling to contain a deluge of unruly emotions, Chang-rae busies himself with as many nursing tasks as possible, even though his mother (Jackie Chung) insists on maintaining her independence.
With New Year's Eve approaching, Chang-rae plans a familial feast for which he will prepare all the Korean dishes his mother excelled at. Organizing the dinner brings with it memories of the times he spent in the kitchen taking in his mother's culinary wisdom, along with memories of their arguments over questions of cultural assimilation and the difficult life choices both of them have made — and will make. The moment will soon come when Chang-rae's mother will need to decide whether or not to continue receiving treatment.
Having already brought works by Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club) and Javier Marías (While the Women are Sleeping) to the big screen, Wang is no stranger to literary adaptation. With Coming Home Again, he brings depth and sensitivity to translating Lee's prose into a chamber drama that alternates seamlessly between past and present, chronicling a young man's journey through guilt and uncertainty to arrive at a place of pure love.