Canadian director Mina Shum (known best for Double Happiness and her piercing NFB documentary Ninth Floor) has crafted a textured and charismatic portrait of first- and second-generation immigrant life.
The Vancouver-set Meditation Park stars Sandra Oh, who long before she became a household name from the ER of Grey's Anatomy, got her real start in Shum's Double Happiness in 1994. Then and now, Oh is a fiercely measured actress with an intensity matched in this film by Tzi Ma (Arrival) playing her domineering dad. As good as these two are, Oh and Ma still take a backseat to the truly adorable and impossibly endearing Pei-Pei Cheng (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) as matriarch Maria who, upon discovering her husband's infidelity, peers at the edges of her tiny world and wonders what a life of caregiving has gotten her.
A bit too hammy at moments, Meditation Park is otherwise a complex film that hews with tenderness to Asian stereotypes in order to reflect back their often-obscured depths. Meditation Park opens March 9 in Toronto and Vancouver