A film by Patrick Wang
2011, 169 minutes
No. 220


The Independent Spirit Award-nominated directorial debut of acclaimed filmmaker Patrick Wang (The Grief of Others, A Bread Factory). In the town of Martin, Tennessee, Chip Hines, a precocious six year old, has only known life with his two dads, Cody and Joey. And a good life it is. When Cody dies suddenly in a car accident, Joey and Chip struggle to find their footing again. Just as they begin to, Cody’s will reveals that he named his sister as Chip’s guardian. The years of Joey’s acceptance into the family unravel as Chip is taken away from him. In his now solitary home life, Joey searches for a solution. The law is not on his side, but friends are. Armed with their comfort and inspired by memories of Cody, Joey finds a path to peace with the family and closer to his son.

In a heartfelt story woven around child custody, two-Dad families, loss, interracial relations, the American South, and the human side of the law, the nature of what it means to be in a family is explored with ambitious and rewarding nuance.

Winner, Emerging Filmmaker Award, San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
Winner, Jury Award for Best Narrative, San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival
Nominee, Best First Feature, Film Independent Spirit Awards
Nominee, Best First Feature, Village Voice Film Poll

“An indie masterpiece [...] a film that avoids any messages or statement and simply shows us, with infinite sympathy, how the life of a completely original character can help us lead our own.” - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“Topical and timeless [...] a remarkably fresh and unpredictable drama [...] one of the most accomplished and undersold directorial debuts this year.” - The New York Times

“A signature achievement [...] deliberate and marked by uncommon grace.” - The Los Angeles Times

“A beautifully written and performed plea for understanding [...] the tale recalls the social realism of John Cassavetes.” - Variety

“Deeply humanistic, profoundly touching work representing independent cinema at its finest [...] heralds the emergence of a major filmmaking talent.” - The Hollywood Reporter

“Evinces a keen awareness of the ways in which family members interact, grieve, and open their hearts to one another.” - The Village Voice

“It’s so morally invigorating you might just feel the world tremble.” - Slant Magazine

“The most surprising and astounding DIY American narrative of the year.” - Filmmaker Magazine