By Jan Hamilton
Synopsis Source: SXSW
The semi-autobiographical film follows
spoiled rich girl Sasha Li (Anna Akana), who after blowing through most of her trust fund, is forced by her father (Richard Ng) to go back to China and work for the family toy business. What begins simply as a way to regain financial support soon develops into a life altering journey of self-discovery, as Sasha discovers her passion for toy designing and learns to reconnect with her estranged family. A bittersweet portrait of a fractured family, the film also offers an honest look at the human cost of things that are made in China
Sasha Li is not very likeable when we meet her. She makes occasional attempts to put her degree to use in the US, but despite having no work experience, doesn’t want to start in any kind of apprentice level job. She mainly parties, footing the bill for her equally frivolous friends. When she is cut-off and forced to go home and work in the family factory in China, she thinks her world has ended. We watch Sasha grow, learn and make some mistakes, finally connecting with the family she previously had no time for. Ana Arkana, in her semi-autographical role, does a fine job in this touching family drama/comedy. She keeps us interested as she valiantly tries to “do her time” at the stuffed animal factory, and win the affection of her distant, much married dad. The film gives us a look into a world we seldom see. It’s worth the trip.