Confetti Parent Guide
Nothing can stop a determined mother.
Parent Movie Review
Based on the real-life experiences of writer and director Ann Hu, Confetti follows Lan (Zhu Zhu) and her daughter, Meimei (Harmonie He), who has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. Unable to find appropriate resources in China, Lan and Meimei set off for America with little more than the clothes on their backs and an unshakable determination to get Meimei the education she deserves.
Stories are at their most powerful when they are rooted in lived experiences, and this element of truth is Confetti’s greatest strength. The raw emotion of a mother willing to risk everything for her child is palpable in every scene, and some of that credit must go to Zhu Zhu, who gives a phenomenal performance, along with writer and director Ann Hu. The story covers the frustration and hopelessness of living in a country that lacks any sort of support or resources for children with learning disabilities, to the fear and uncertainty of traveling to a new country without knowing any English, to the disappointment of having doors closed again and again for reasons outside of one’s control. It is this range of emotions, told beautifully through acting, cinematography, and music, that makes Confetti a success.
This is not a perfect film, mind you. In my notes I wrote “beautiful but clumsy” and I think that sums it up nicely. Some of the dialogue is clunky, though I wonder how much of that comes from translating a Chinese screenplay into English. A few side characters stand out in a bad way, as their performances fail to measure up to the talent of the leads, particularly Zhu and He. I also found that the screenplay starts to lean dangerously toward the “white savior” trope. Lan and Meimei’s story starts to take a back seat to the character Helen (Amy Irving) about halfway through the runtime, which brings the plot to a screeching halt and creates pacing problems for the remainder. The very end, about the last 2 or 3 minutes, dives headfirst into saccharine philosophizing, beating the audience over the head with the themes mercilessly.
All that said, I think that the good outweighs the bad in this situation. A few rewrites and a bit of editing could easily have fixed most of the film’s problems, and there is so much to enjoy that I wouldn’t let its flaws stop me from recommending it. Although the movie is almost completely devoid of negative content, aside from a character being a smoker, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Confetti for young audiences, partly because of all the subtitles, but also because I can’t imagine most children being terribly engrossed in the subject matter. For teens and adults, however, I think this movie sheds light on an important problem in our world, one that deserves its time in the spotlight.Directed by Ann Hu. Starring Zhu Zhu, Harmonie He, Amy Irving. Running time: 87 minutes. Theatrical release August 20, 2021. Updated August 16, 2021
Watch the trailer for Confetti
Rating & Content Info
Why is Confetti rated Not Rated? Confetti is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: One mild expletive is heard.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink alcohol with dinner. An adult character is seen smoking in multiple scenes.
Page last updated August 16, 2021
Confetti Parents' Guide
Why is it so hard for Lan to find a school for Meimei? What barriers exist because she is an immigrant and what barriers exist because of her disability? How do those factors intersect?
Related home video titles:
When a mother realizes that her dyslexic child won’t get the help she needs from her failing school, she throws herself into a fight to reshape the school district in Won’t Back Down.
In Mr. Holland’s Opus a music teacher struggles to accept his son’s disability: deafness.
A father’s intellectual disability is the issue in I Am Sam. Having fathered a child, Sam now wants custody of his daughter, rather than seeing her become a ward of the courts.