- 1 hr 25 min
Monsoon is a 2019 drama film that follows the journey of a British Vietnamese man named Kit, played by Henry Golding, as he returns to his birthplace, Vietnam. The film is directed by Hong Khaou, who also wrote the screenplay. The movie begins with Kit arriving in Vietnam for the first time since his family fled the country during the Vietnam War when he was just six years old. As he navigates the bustling streets of present-day Ho Chi Minh City, he is confronted with a mix of emotions, grappling with his identity and his connection to a country that he has only ever known through his parents' memories and stories.
Golding delivers a powerful performance as Kit, navigating the complexities of his character's identity with nuance and depth. Through Kit's journey, the film explores themes of identity, belonging, and the legacies of war. As Kit reconnects with his roots, he comes face to face with the realities of his family's past and the fraught history of Vietnam itself.
While Monsoon is a deeply personal story, it also has broader geopolitical implications, exploring the impact of the Vietnam War on both the Vietnamese people and those who fled the country as refugees. In one poignant scene, Kit visits the War Remnants Museum, where he is confronted with graphic images of the war's atrocities. Through his interactions with locals, Kit is forced to reckon with the ways in which the war continues to shape Vietnam's present and future.
Golding is joined by an impressive cast, including William Do and David Tran, who both deliver standout performances. Do plays Lee, Kit's childhood friend who stayed in Vietnam after Kit's family fled, and with whom Kit rekindles a deep bond. Tran plays Linh, a young tour guide who helps Kit navigate the city and serves as a love interest of sorts. Both characters add depth and nuance to the film's exploration of identity and belonging.
The film's stunning visuals and haunting score also play a crucial role in creating a sense of place and atmosphere. From the neon-lit streets of the city to the lush countryside, cinematographer Benjamin Kracun captures the beauty and complexity of Vietnam's landscapes. Meanwhile, classical composer Alex Heffes's score lends a dreamlike quality to the film, underscoring the emotional depths of Kit's journey.
One of the most striking aspects of Monsoon is its refusal to offer easy answers or pat resolutions. Instead, the film embraces ambiguity and complexity, acknowledging that identity and belonging are fluid and constantly evolving. Kit's journey is not a neat, linear one, but rather a messy, emotional exploration of his own identity and the country that shaped it.
Overall, Monsoon is a stunning film that explores complex, timely themes with nuance and depth. Golding delivers a career-best performance, and Khaou's direction is masterful in its portrayal of Vietnam's landscape and history. It is a thought-provoking, emotional work that is sure to linger in viewers' minds long after the credits roll.
Monsoon is a 2020 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 25 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.0 and a MetaScore of 69.