Film Review: A Picture of You

By Kevin Young

Multimedia Director for the MTA, J.P. Chan, wrote and directed his first full length feature film A picture of You. This emotion journey entails the story of two siblings from New York City who have to go to their deceased mother’s house to pack her belongings away in rural Pennsylvania after experiencing her death.

This film will evoke sorrow as you watch the siblings, Kyle, (Andrew Pang) and Jen (Jo Mei) enter the house recalling treasured memories shared with their beloved mother. Memories range from her teaching them how to cook rice to her wearing her favorite dress biking through town.

Themes of sibling rivalry, loss of a family member, letting go and interracial love are all prevalent themes explored in this film. Kyle, the older brother is more “adult-like” as he exclaims to Jen he was the one that took care of their sick mother for 6 months. Jen, the younger sister, and smoker feels a sense of guilt for having more of a life than Kyle as she has a social life. These two siblings are polar opposites of each other that adds fuel to the fire.

Despite this boisterous family drama about the strained relationship between Kyle and Jen, A Picture of You doesn’t keep the audience on the verge of tears. The inclusion of Jen’s Caucasian boyfriend, Doug (Lucas Dixon) offers comedic relief with his weirdness and awkwardness, in addition to the stereotypical Asian jokes inserted throughout the film.

What pushes the film forward is when the two siblings discover a secret regarding their mother that was never meant to be unveiled. It sets the two on a wild goose chase leaving causing one to later incur injuries. Not to mention being in close proximately to a gunshot! This journey forces the two to cooperate with one another to uncover the truth that will change their lives forever.

Jo Mei really stole the spotlight as she embraces the role of the troubled youth that has to deal with that is always taken care of. Mei’s solo scenes of her jogging and perusing through books contain no dialogue yet you could easily tell what Jen feels. Her character wants to be able to fend for herself and prove to herself she can move on with her life.

On the other hand, Andrew Pang still delivered. Having felt displeased and jealous with his sister for having a life he eventually loosens up as he tries weed for the first time and finds a romance. Yet the thing that Kyle and Jen both share is their mutual issue of letting go of their mother.

Although this melodramatic film is worth watching it should pick up the pace when the secret is discovered. I was left wondering and anticipating when the real action was going to occur. And once it did I was disappointed that it was only 10 minutes. Overall the film maintains the image of Asian Americans who have successfully assimilated into American culture.

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J.P. Chan

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