Owl and the Sparrow

stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link] It sounds like it's straight from Dickens: a young orphan girl working in a countryside factory is cruelly treated by her boss, who is also her uncle. She runs away to the big city, where she becomes a street urchin. She acquires two friends: a young man who works as a menial city employee, and a beautiful young woman with a solid professional career. The young girl decides to play matchmaker, and tries to avoid being tossed into the local orphanage…

Except this isn't Victorian England, it's roughly present-day Vietnam; the cruel uncle's factory makes bamboo blinds, not boot blacking; and the little girl, Thuy, escapes to Saigon, not London. The young man works in the Saigon Zoo, which is under financial pressure to sell his favorite animal, a young elephant, off to some Indian zoo. The young woman, a flight attendant on the Hanoi-to-Saigon run, has her own problems: she's in an affair with a married pilot.

OK, so maybe you wouldn't have seen that last bit in Dickens.

It's a very sweet story, told with humor. The kid playing Thuy is heartbreakingly cute and a decent actor.

The IMDB says the movie was filmed in "Ho Chi Minh City", but everybody in the movie calls it "Saigon", at least in the subtitles. For a commie hellhole dictatorship, there's a lot of capitalistic activity going on. Are you sure we lost that war?

Last Modified 2012-10-02 2:07 PM EST