Monsoon: Film Review


Henry Golding has chosen an interesting range of roles since his debut in Crazy Rich Asians but Monsoon firmly establishes his talent as an actor.

He stars as British-Vietnamese man Kit, who returns to Ho Chi Minh City (mostly referred to here as Saigon) for the first time since he was six years old when his family escaped the country in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Returning some 30 years later to scatter his mother’s ashes, Kit feels like a tourist in his birth country, as it has changed so much he doesn’t recognise it and he is no longer able to speak his native language.

Hong Khaou‘s Monsoon is a beautifully shot and poignant exploration into the emigration experience and how it feels to return to a country that was once home but now feels completely foreign. It also delves into the lingering scars of the war and how both the Vietnamese people and American visitors – such as Kit’s love interest Lewis (Parker Sawyers) – are still affected by it to this day.

However, the story is too slow and subtle for its own good. I just wanted more – to be let in more, for Kit to say more, and for it to come to a satisfying conclusion. It’s only 85 minutes but it felt much longer due to its pace and meandering nature.

Golding hasn’t really had the opportunity to show off his range with his other recent movie roles – such as A Simple Favour, Last Christmas, and The Gentlemen – so I was very impressed by his tender and authentic performance. As much as I love seeing him looking suave and charming, I was captivated by his stripped-back dramatic role here.

Monsoon is ultimately a bit too slow and subtle for me which is a shame because Golding’s performance is excellent and I found the movie informative and enlightening.

In selected cinemas from Friday 25th September 

Rating: 3/5

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