April 05, 2013

Foreign Letters (2012)

Foreign Letters (2012)
Directed by: Ela Thier
Country: USA

Review: “Foreign Letters” depicts a beautiful story of friendship between 12 year-olds Ellie and Thuy. They met for the first time at school in US, right after Ellie has moved from Israel with her parents and little brother. Feeling completely lonely in a strange city, she and her family suffer in silence as they try to adapt to a new life. Vietnamese Thuy, on the other hand, was living in the US for quite a while, being acquainted with the American procedures, and above all with the English language. The two friends will learn how to accept their limitations, needs, and personalities, to maintain their friendship. The film was able to convey very clearly the cultural gaps and distinct manners of facing life. Ellie was relaxed, open, and accessible, while Thuy was more unavailable and demanding with herself, basically living for her studies and future success. “Foreign Letters” was enjoyable in its nostalgic and innocent mood, but presented some weaknesses related with the acting and dialogs. If the acting was unnatural in a couple of situations, the dialogs revealed an automated weird tone, even when a plain English was used. In turn, its sincerity combined with the funny situations created around the English teaching for foreigners brought good results. In the final, we got a positive balance for this sensitive coming-of-age story, based on the filmmaker’s own experiences.

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