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  • "Come See The Paradise" is a forgotten gem of a film that takes place during one of the United States' darkest and most shameful times. At the onset of World War II, Japanese-Americans were put into internment camps This injustice lasted for several years. Alan Parker's fictional film takes place before, during and after this time. It tells the story of Jack McGurn (Dennis Quaid), an Irish-American labor organizer who falls in love with Lily Kawamura (Tamlyn Tomita), a young girl who lives with her large family in San Fransisco. Lily's father (Sab Shimono) does not agree with the romance, which forces Jack and Lily to elope in Seattle. Jack gets into some trouble with the law while picketing, and Lily, angry that Jack has not changed his ways since the birth of their daughter, Mini, takes the child back to her family's house. Soon after, Pearl Harbor is bombed, the Kawamuras are shuttled off to various camps (except Mr. Kawamura who is believed to be a traitor), and Jack is forced into the army.

    Like many films, "Come See The Paradise" is about the strength of love. The fact that it uses this period as a backdrop sets it apart from the rest. The chemistry between Quaid and Tomita is amazing. Just watch them together when they meet for the first time and they kiss. It's simply stunning. Quaid has rarely been this good, and Tomita is obviously relishing having a lead role. In most of her films she's listed as "(somebody's) wife". Films like this and "The Joy Luck Club" prove that she is one of the most talented and under-used actresses.

    Some have complained that this film uses an "American" character to tell the story of a "Japanese" family. As if any non-Japanese audience members would not be able to understand, or relate to, the Japanese family. The Quaid character is called "un-American" because of his labor rights stance. The family is called "un-American" simply because they are of Japanese descent. Even though the children were born in the United States. So what exactly does it mean to be "un-American"?

    Side note: this movie has not been released on DVD. I anxiously await that day.
  • The "Front-Page" review of this film gives the impression that it is not worth seeing "because the plot is wandering" and other unfair accusations. Instead, take a look at Roger Ebert's fine review under the External review portion of IMDb. I first purchased this film back in the days of the Laser Disc, and I know that my "ancient by today's standards" Pioneer player....and perhaps I'm in violation of copyright laws, but I am transferring all my laser discs to DVD, and I cannot possibly think of a finer film to witness the discriminatory laws that existed during the early days of WWII....even if the focus is on an Irish-American played by Dennis Quaid....and you must see the early scene in which he dances/sings to a Japanese song that he has memorized by his position as Projectionist in a Japanese-American theatre in San Francisco. And for those who might enjoy a Jarre/Barry type film score, this one is haunting and lovely. Ignore the reviewer and give this terrific film a chance, and I'll bet you'll love it.
  • This is one of the most powerful films that I have seen about the Japanese-American experience in the internment camps during WW2.The think that struck me from the very beginning was that these folk were just as American as any of us.They,too,were just trying to live the American Dream,until the policies of the US Government took their dreams away from them.History has a bad habit of repeating itself,and movies like this remind us that regardless of race,creed,or color,we're all just Americans.This was a bad time for US domestic policy,and hopefully a shameful policy like this will never rear its ugly head again in our country.
  • I wish that this film could have been better--and it could have, in many ways. First of all the acting was quite good, particularly Tamlyn Tomita whose charm and beauty make for radiant scenes. And the sets/cinematography allowed for a good deal of authenticity.

    However, the difficulty I have with the film concerns--as other reviewers have noted--a wandering and unfocused script. Although Alan Parker allows for an accurate (for the most part) and revealing look at life in the internment camps, we rarely see anything from Jack's (Dennis Quaid) perspective. What happened to him after he went AWOL? How long were they apart? Also, the difficulties that everyone had with the marriage between Lily and Jack are resolved without any discussion. She simply comes home from Seattle and all is forgiven? The cultural tensions and familial disputes were left behind in favor of a highly politicized second half.

    In order to fit in the family conflicts and internment episodes, the romance between Lily and Jack is hastened to the point of non-existence in the second half hour. Therefore the audience had little reason to dread their eventual separation, and rejoice in their ultimate reunion.

    Finally, on an historical note, the Supreme Court case Korematsu vs. U.S. (1944) upheld the constitutionality of the internment camps. The movie portrayed a victorious Supreme Court decision that allowed for all internees to return to freedom. However, the US government did not officially recognize the unconstitutionality of Executive Order 9066 until 1988, with a Congressional apology and restitution.

    Overall, because of the highly-charged emotional potential of the subject matter, I had expected a film with a little more feeling. And if a director/writer is going to make a political movie to illuminate a dark period of American history, he should at least get his facts straight.

    Salome
  • I really loved this movie. It was informational and had a beautiful storyline. I generally don't get my knowledge from movies because they are often very inaccurate but I know this one is based on facts as I have done some research about internment camps for a class paper. I know that the story between Jack and lily is entirely made up, but all the historical events aren't. Also, I feel that movie directors and studios should make more movies with Asian characters and about Asian in America because I find it very interesting. I am not Asian, not one little bit and I am getting tired of seeing always the same kind of people on movie screens. I know that the studios have come a long way but they need to make more movies like this one, and believe that there is an audience (not obviously Asian) interested in seeing them. If you have not seen this movie, get some popcorn, unplug the phone and enjoy.
  • This movie has faults--don't they all. Have found it very helpful in teaching a variety of concepts to sophomore and junior English students. The scenes showing Lily and her family forced out of their homes by Americans, marching to the train station in total silence except for their haunting, now-forbidden Japanese music are always received with great concentration and silence by my classes--a high tribute to Mr. Parker's ability to let a picture speak for itself. Come to the Paradise offers a refreshingly different viewpoint of a critical point in American history for those of us who prefer a little something to chew on besides popcorn at the movies.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Come see the Paradise" is an amazing film in essence this film does what Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 911" do remind us of an ugly of American history commited by several abusive bureaucractic leaders imposing their form of corrupted civil governments and laws.

    The film takes place during WWII and like "Snow Falling on Cedars" (another great story about the anti-Japanse movement during this time) is about an American, who falls in love with a Japanese women. The two fall in love regardless of their race backgrounds.

    The girls fathers does not like the White Man, but eventually the family accepts him as partof the family, and this LOVE IS TESTED during the war.

    Dennis Quaid stars as Jack McGurn a liberal Irish activist who is trying to believe form a union, now forming a Union back then was like being a Communist in this warp view of America. It was pure nonsense and people like disgraced military men like MacArthur and other abusive military leaders wanted to quite down people who spoke out against governemnt corruption. This of course has been the case across history , even movie directors like the late great Elia Kaza have been targeted. Back to the movie:

    Tamyln Tomita as the love interest, Lily Yuriko , is absolutely great portraying all the anguish of a women in love, but then feels pain and sorrow when she sees her own people being put in Concentration Camps by the Americans and are given no rights, no real jobs (except menial low paying ones) and no hope.

    (Spoilers) During one dramatic and painful sequence that has to be seen the father is arrrested for no reason and taken into custody, he is then released and is then labeled as traitor leading into a great depression which eventually hurts his spirits and he dies. Quaid deserves a great recommendation for his performance as one of a few Americans who sees whats going and realizes that this is wrong. At one point, like many men he is forcibly drag into the war, and then goes AWOL to see his love and her Japanese family to provide support its very touching still the US carries it's vendetta with the Japanese leading to Atom bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and the bombing

    of Pearl Harbor.

    If you don't cry watching this movie there is something wrong with you as "Come See The Paradise" by Alan Parker has great dramatic performance , a great score by Randy Edelman and a true life story that SHOULD NOT be forgotten.

    The movie is also told primarily through the narration of Lily

    the main character does giving us a very intimate and real

    portrayal of the evennts unfolding onscreen.

    Truly an amazing movie, in fact see it with "Fahrenheit 911" so you can see some historic, dramatic events that we as Americans should not forget and learn from.
  • During WWII, Japanese Americans are stripped of their property and sent to prison camps in California. Also seemingly taken away is the family life of an American man and his Japanese soulmate.

    This is powerful material and COME SEE THE PARADISE does well as a first attempt. Surely, sooner or later more talented directors will revisit this bit of history and hit a home run.

    Few movie fans know that STAR TREK's George Takei (Mr. Sulu) lived with his family in these California concentration camps during WWII. Both his father and grandmother died in them.

    As ROOTS showed us the reality of slavery in America, as GERONIMO taught us that the taking of the West was an ugly affair devoid of justice, as the DEAR HUNTER told us that the troubles of Vietnam were deeper than reported on the evening news; COME SEE THE PARADISE gives us an imperfect glimps of some of our darkest mistakes of WWII.
  • deanofrpps22 August 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    In 1941 Japan launched a surprise attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor and caught thousands of Neisei in between two worlds. Come see The Paradise is the story of the Neisei (Japanese immigrants and Americans of Japanese descent) who were removed to the interior from the West Coast. The film is loosely narrated by Lily Yuriko McGann née Kawamura, a young Nisei married to a white American. Notwithstanding the marriage, both she and her daughter Mini McGann (Elizabeth Gilliam; Shyree Mezick; Caroline Junko King) are interned under difficult conditions.

    The film strives for a degree of balance in that it does present those who out-right favored Japan and fomented trouble in the camps as well as those loyal to their adopted country who volunteered for service in the armed forces.

    There are several gaps in the film: Mini McGann as the daughter of a white father, couldn't have been legally detained. Jack McGann would have been entitled to an exemption from the draft as a sole custodial parent.

    Alternatively, with Jack in the Army and Lilly McGann locked up, in those times a grandparent Jack's parents would have been legally responsible for Mini's care and support. How did grandpa Gerry McGurn (Colm Meaney) get away without ante-ing up? The film does not explain what happened to Jack McGann alias Jack McGurn (Dennis Quaid)during the war. There is a suggestion that past union activities caught up with Jack and that he was jailed instead of being sent off into combat.

    In 1944 that would have seemed unlikely as the US running short on man-power was already draining its prisons into the army. In any event, the unions had been legalized nine years earlier in 1935 by FDR. Former Leftist activity was not regarded as a bad thing during the war years when the Soviet Union was America's ally. The anti-communist purge would await final victory in the war.

    The movie erroneously claims the US Supreme Court ended internment; to the contrary it not only approved internment but also condoned taking away a reserve commission that had been awarded to a Neisei.

    But despite the minor lapses in the historical aspects of the account, the film is compelling.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Well, I recently experienced "Come See the Paradise" with Dennis Quad. The movie tells the often overlooked and not widely known story of Japanese Americans before, during and after WWII. This film was incredible to say the least, the characters very well drawn up and telling a simple love story beautifully. The performances are memorable and one can feel the sense of conflict in these characters. At times I was actually nearly brought to tears, a rare thing for me (the only movies that have ever made me cry are "Godzilla vs. Destroyah", "I am Legend", "Pokémon 2000" ,I was like seven, "Rodan" and "Schindler's List"). The encampment of Japanese-Americans is often overshadowed by Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust, but this film shows it how it really happened. The struggle of loyalty, patriotism and freedom all are called out in this movie quite nicely, the director just telling it how it is, you know? The story is sad one that finally lives up to its title, although I couldn't really enjoy it the first time around with my history teacher treating us like five year olds! I only wish it had a scene of the Atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki or Hiroshima. It would of helped audiences understand the atrocity of using such a weapon on defenseless civilians.
  • Of all places, I remember seeing this film in an English class in senior year of High School (something to do with civil rights, not really to do with the quality of writing per-say), to give all the sides to the problems of equality in the American experience. Come See the Paradise does chronicle a crucial blunder during the second world war- the kind of lesson to be learned from it that does need to be learned in regards to the present- though I could imagine a better film being made at some point on the subject. This is the big chunk of it, anyway, the one that would get spoken of if passed along to someone as a one-line note. But there's also a romantic plot to it, relating the experience so that it's personal and not just an abstract form of a nightmarish reality.

    Dennis Quaid and Tamlyn Tomita play the romantic interest of the picture, Quaid playing a regular Joe who comes to work at a movie theater in Little Tokyo, meets the boss's daughter played by Tomita, and soon they fall for each other quite deeply. But as it's forbidden by the girl's father, they still try and sneak away anyway to have their love. Then come the internment camps, the camps created as a homegrown quasi concentration camp for the Japanese, where in Lily is once again with her family, away from her great love. It isn't exactly the most sunny of entertainments, and Alan Parker's writing is nowhere near the level of finesse and maturity his direction has, but there could be a lot worse as far as bludgeoning-over-the-head movie-making. I can also see, from my recollection, that it is understandably one of the least seen of Parker's films.
  • This movie has been seen by my mom in the film festival of Cannes but she has never seen this movie in a cinema. So we found this movie in a shop and buy it cause she wanted me to see it. A pleasure for me and have a look...
  • This movie tells a story that often many Americans do not recall. When we think of camps, we usually think about how Americans were heroes who liberated Nazi camps during the second World War. However, this story lets you observe the many aspects of Japanese internment and how many American citizens were imprisoned by the way that they looked rather than for having committed a crime.

    I find the first half an hour or so unnecessary. You are introduced to a Japanese family and their business, and Dennis Quaid's character. His character is actually pretty unnecessary in the movie. He does not really contribute anything to the plot besides being married to a japanese girl. Of course, this was rather odd at the time since the Japanese were considered the enemy, but that is pretty much it in my opinion. The movie could have retold the exact same story and saved us about 45 minutes in telling us about Japanese internment without the use of his character. THis is not to say the movie is bad, but it is pretty long for no reason other than to include an american that you are supposed to be inclined into liking.
  • While I can't say I whole-heartedly hated this movie, I can't say I loved it either. In some ways, it attempts to make a difficult part of history more palatable for an American audience, and for this, I believe it deserves some commendation. However, to a large extent, the plotline of the film overshadows the historical events that it attempts to incorporate, and possibly even trivializes the hardships endured by people of Japanese descent during the 1930s and 1940s.

    The movie itself is centered around a cliché, star-crossed love story, leaving the majority of the historical features of the film as bits and pieces that are seemingly tacked on to give the film its validity. More than half of the film is spent on (albeit, poor) character development and introduction of the main conflict. As a result, the parts of the film that deal with internment and other injustices faced by people of Japanese descent are framed inherently as secondary aspects of the story. Internment and relocation were used as plot devices. Tense racial and/or ethnic conditions within camps and society are played down to make Jack and Lily's love more plausible. In many cases, Nisei and Issei were faced with systemic and often violent anti-Japanese sentiments that posed threats to personal wellbeing. In the camps, conditions were unsanitary and, due to the material losses some people suffered when forced to leave their houses so quickly during the relocation process, many internees were not able to afford appropriate medical care. This aspect is largely glossed over in the movie depiction.

    While I can go on about the issues I have with this film, I do believe it does a decent job of highlighting some of the important aspects of this period of history. Through the plot, Parker addresses the paradox of citizenship and loyalty, as well as other injustices and racism faced by the Japanese community during the 1930s and 1940s. Before World War II, people of Japanese descent were prevented from receiving citizenship by US immigration policies, but during internment, these people were also asked to swear loyalty to the United States, effectively challenging their identity as either Japanese or American. Similarly, there is some mention of the racism experienced by Nisei and Issei during this time, but it is often more generalized and even misguidedly incorporated into the screenwriting itself.

    Come See the Paradise walks the fine line between being historically valuable, and unfortunately frustrating to watch. What it lacks in historical accuracy, it makes up for in typical, sappy, Hollywood romance. This film could not be confused with a documentary, but for those seeking an interesting movie to watch, this is a decent choice if taken with a grain of salt.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It is always difficult to find and acknowledge fault in one's own history. In that sense, Come See the Paradise was a surprisingly historically well-portrayed film, considering that it is a movie made in the US about Japanese internment camp. The movie did justice to the historical tragedy that Japanese Americans had to go through, but also made it acceptable for a larger American audience. It touches on several historical facts, such as the formation of Japanese Citizen League, the loyalty question in the questionnaire, and different experiences of Japanese Americans and the parents who are aliens. A compromise was necessary in order to produce this movie, which I believe was cleverly done.

    Nonetheless, excluding the historical side, if we just evaluate the movie as another Hollywood film, I have to say it is generally terrible movie. The acting is very awkward and the lines made me cringe from time to time. Especially the scene in the Chinese restaurant where Jack and Lily first have lunch together was too cheesy that it was far from being romantic. Moreover, some parts of the plot seems irrelevant to the general storyline. For example, the fact that Jack was involved in the labor union business seems to have no connection with the rest of the story. The movie is slightly messy before the characters get interned in the camp, which happens relatively later in the film than I expected. I personally enjoy films that are coherent throughout, but this film was not one of them.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Come See the Paradise, a film about Japanese-American relocation and encampment during the Second World War, is very much Hollywood's version and representation of a camp experience. It follows the love story between a projectionist, played by Dennis Quaid, and an American-born woman of Japanese descent, played by Tamlyn Tomita. Much of the film is devoted to the story of how the two meet and become close, and it is not until at least halfway into the movie that the relocation takes place. Though the film does capitalize on traditional gender roles, the fact that it was filmed in 1990 requires us to look at the context in which the movie was made, when challenging gender stereotypes in a Hollywood film was not common. In a historical context, the movie downplayed much of the rampant racism prevalent towards Japanese-Americans at the time. The couple in the movie would have had extraordinary difficulty getting service at a restaurant or booking a hotel room. One scene, in which Santa Claus refuses to have their daughter sit on his lap due to her Asian appearance, begins to hint at this, but overall it is whitewashed by the film. Once in the camp, the film was fairly accurate in its portrayal. Events such as the loyalty questionnaire and demonstrations within the camps did take place, and the day-to-day experience was monotonous. However, the film never truly addresses the serious problem of a country's citizens being suspected of espionage merely on the basis of race and subsequently separated from society. There are hints of this when some of the characters wonder why they are being taken away, but it is not discussed as thoroughly as it could have been. Overall, Come See the Paradise is a film clearly intended for majority audiences, and while it does talk about Japanese internment, the primary focus is much more the love story than a depiction of camp life.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Come See The Paradise is an insult to the experiences that Japanese Americans and millions of other interned people have experienced. The film depicts the unconstitutional internment of Japanese American citizens and immigrants during World War II, but only does so through the story of an interracial couple. While the film could have addressed the social conflicts that an interracial couple would have faced at the time (and too often still face today), it falls short of truly depicting the American hatred for Japanese immigrants during World War II. The film spends entirely too long on the relationship between Jack (Dennis Quaid) and Lily (Tomita Tomlyn), and far too little time on the ways in which internment affected Japanese people living in America during and after internment. Although this movie is not anything close to what it could have been, there is a certain amount of credit that should be given to the producers and directors for portraying the lives and struggle of Japanese-American citizens and immigrants in their most dire times. It is important to be able to represent and confront the atrocities that America has committed in the name of freedom, but this is not an entirely accurate representation. The film shows only a limited amount of struggle that the Japanese citizens underwent leading up to their internment. It seems that many of them are extremely willing to go away to these camps, selling their belongings and even refusing offers that are deemed too low for certain items. There is only a brief instance of despair before the family leaves for the camp when Lily tells the family to smash the record players. When they leave the platform and say goodbye to Jack, they seem hopeful that they would be seeing him extremely soon. Although this movie is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, it does address a few meaningful aspects of camp life. The depiction of Mr. Kawamura's decline is quite representative of the way in which the camps and the country stripped away any sense of belonging and pride from the Japanese citizens and immigrants. Mr. Kawamura shows what the camp did to many and that there was little to live for once interned. Additionally, Charlie's rebellion against the American government demonstrates the struggles that many faced in their situation. Many faced the difficult choice of turning their backs on a country and a life that was all they knew, but were forced to do so because of the injustices that the American government was doing to them and their families. Finally, the scene in which Lily exclaims to a guard that the camp was nothing but an outdoor prison was particularly meaningful because it contradicts the American propaganda that the camp was a place that the Japanese citizens "wanted" to be. Although there are a few powerful scenes and narratives that are sprinkled throughout the movie, overall, it fails to be an accurate depiction of internment.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The film Come See the Paradise is a fairly standard Hollywood depiction of internment camps in the sense that it fails to focus on the many of the issues concerning internment and instead spends most of the film following an unbelievable and not convincing love story. The issue of Japanese internment is a charged subject and one of the darkest moments in American history. Thousands of American citizens and immigrants had their rights violated in dramatic ways because of racial prejudice. If one wants to portray this event in American history, the film must be tactful and treat the stories with care-Come See the Paradise failed to do this in almost every scene in the movie. The majority of movie, which runs two hours and eighteen minutes long, follows the relationship of Lucy Kawamura, an American citizen of Japanese descent portrayed by Tamlyn Tomita, and Jack McGurn, an Irish American played by Dennis Quaid who once again proves he can only be called an actor on a technicality. Watching their relationship unfold on the screen is frustrating to say the least. The film fails to address the real animosity an interracial couple at that time would face and therefore misses an opportunity to make a powerful commentary on the American social norms. Also, the character of Jack McGurn does not need be in the film at all. His character just serves as a way to engage traditional American audiences and generally detracts from any points the film attempts to make. There are several instances in the film which occur in the camp that are impactful. The discussion of the loyalty clauses the American government wanted the internees to sign and the dismal conditions within the camp were discussed and portrayed well. The film, however, choses to not focus on these events and instead continues to follow Jack McGurn and his struggles within the army. The film should have remained focused on the Kawamura family's experiences within the camp and attempt to portray the hardships and complex decisions which emerged during the course of the internment. Substance was sacrificed in this film in order to create a movie that would appeal to American audiences. Yet the film was still dismal by Hollywood standards as it had a cliché script, terrible acting, and overall muddle plot line which contained no resolution. I personally feel that if one is going to make a film about such as sensitive topic as Japanese Internment during World War II commercial goals should not be valued as much as concern for the memory of the victims and survivors.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While the main plot line focuses entirely too much on the love story between Jack and Lily, there are some parts of the film that make it worthwhile.

    There was some redeemable aspects of the film. The setting shown after the Japanese were put into the camps was particularly powerful. We were able to see the vandalism and racism targeted at them during the weeks before internment, as well as the ghost towns left behind when they were forced out..

    Some of the stereotypical responses of people who are put in camps were displayed in this picture. The father, an older man with a great sense a purpose before internment, completely lost his way in the camp. In Santo Tomas, where Americans were interned in the Philippines, there were similar instances of important men crumbling under the camp setting. The mother, who was not allowed to become a citizen of the United States, was told she could not help make camouflage military nets, even though she just wanted to be doing something and was not working for pay like her daughters. Though boredom is not the worst thing a person interned could experience, it shows how restricted they were. She simply wanted something to do but was not allowed because she was Japanese. The son, Charlie, developed a deep connection to his ancestor's homeland of Japan though he had never even been there and spoke little Japanese. The targeting and persecution forced him to embrace and learn more about his heritage and ultimately return to Japan. And opposite him was the son, Harry, who joined the U.S Army and died in service. Harry, a rational man who tended to err on the side of caution, did what he thought was safest for him, though it turned out to be the cause of his death. The different outcomes of these characters shows the ways people can react to internment, even within the same family.
  • Come See the Paradise is a Hollywood dramatized historical film. It incorporates aspects of historical facts, but alters it greatly in order to make it more relatable to the average American. What does that mean in terms of the film? Well there must be a straight, white male lead because who can relate to Japanese Americans? This creates a noticeable flaw in the film as a whole. Dennis Quaid's character felt unnecessary, stereotypical, largely one-dimensional, and empowered by an overly noticeable sexual energy. Additionally, for a hefty film time of two hours and eighteen minutes, it felt as though only ~thirty of those minutes were spent inside the internment camp itself. It wasted so much time attempting to humanize these characters, and create backgrounds for them that it became confusing as to what type of movie we were watching. Although I appreciate the dedication for attempting to flesh out these characters more, most of this development could have been taken place within a camp setting. I did appreciate the depiction of portraying an interracial couple during a very racist time period. It was interesting to see how the Japanese family reacted to the situation, and seeing the expectation that Japanese women had in terms of their love life. It would be more important and realistic though to portray how society reacted to this couple. In 1940s California, people would not be accepting of a Japanese-American couple. This was a time where Japanese, or even other East Asian immigrants who appeared Japanese, were at times assaulted on the streets. The film touched on this with the racist Santa Claus, but this even had issues with it. Because of the film only depicted the racism through this one scene, it appears as though only a few Santas were racist, when in reality it would have been a majority of Santas! In reality, this couple would struggle to live their lives due to societal racism. They would be unable to eat at restaurants without complaint, see films, raise their daughter, etc. This was not depicted in the film. In fact, the film dedicated more time displaying how the Japanese family disapproved of the couple compared to society, that it made it seem that Japanese were more racist towards Americans, than Americans towards Japanese! This is an inaccurate depiction that severely hurt the films credibility.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While I applaud the writers, producers, and directors for their attempt to depict the Japanese-American experience during WWII, the execution was dire at best. The script was poorly written and poorly produced. In fact, I cannot decide which was worse the writing or the acting. The entire role of Dennis Quaid was annoying, and its only practical advantage was an awkward fumbling of a love story. I take it this narrative was intended to attract a larger audience. To be fair, American audiences are not historians per se, and likely want a dramatic love affair. The one redeeming quality of the film was the use of props and scenery. I suppose the budget allowed for an acceptable rendition of a west coast city in the 1940s. As for the historical accuracy, the film did convey generational tension and discussed the relevance of national identity during the war. Generational tension was depicted when Lily was pleading with her mother, after their long estrangement due to her marriage to Jack. She spoke in English, while her mother responded in Japanese. Another instance of generational tension was when Lily's brother refused to speak to his father, who her brother thought gave information to American intelligence. National identity was depicted by the discussion concerning the questionnaire that asked internees to pledge loyalty to the United States. Furthermore, the film showed the protests of the Japanese Citizen League within the camp. Overall the camp experience was portrayed accurately. Japanese-Americans endured forced migration to makeshift camps in the desert where they were held unconstitutionally.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As the title of my review states, I enjoyed Come See the Paradise and feel as though it represented Japanese-American internment well, but the film did make some choices with which I do not agree.

    The film did well in depicting internment. One thing that some Americans may struggle with is being critical of the country many call "the land of the free", but this film does not shy away from criticizing the United States' decision to unjustly intern those of Japanese descent during World War II. This can be seen when Lily argues with white camp officials, calling the camp a prison and when Charlie, an American citizen who barely spoke any Japanese, repatriates to Japan after the war, disgusted with the internment. Seeing a Hollywood film about American citizens encamped could open viewer's eyes to an ugly part of the United States' history and serve as a warning that freedoms can be infringed upon and that we must do our part to stop anything like this from happening within the United States again.

    The film also did a decent job at showing how the camp interrupted the lives of Japanese-Americans. The Kawamura family had a thriving movie theater and a beautiful home, but all of this was taken away in an instant with encampment. Although the aftereffects of the camp are hardly explored, the Kawamura family members do not have their lives to return to in Los Angeles, showing how a camp experience can impact people even after liberation.

    All this being said, the film did have its problems. Although the portrayal of these camps was realistic and critical, not nearly enough time was spent showing camp life. There was far too much buildup to encampment; I hardly think that there was much reason to start in 1936. I am also unsure if there was a need for the character of Jack. The camps were the experiences of Japanese-Americans and people of Japanese descent, so I believe the focus should have been solely on them without the inclusion of a white male character although I realize that without Dennis Quaid, the film might not have accessed as wide of an audience as it did.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Come See the Paradise" is nothing short of an insulting representation of what occurred in Japanese internment camps during World War II. While there are some redeeming qualities, it is masked by the incredibly awkward sexual interactions between Jack and Lily and the racial insensitivity. It is incredible that anyone who reviewed the film before letting it be shown in theaters would think that making a joke about Chinese people eating dogs was appropriate for the context of the film. One of the main questions I have about the film is why Dennis Quaid's character was necessary and if the director thought Jack was necessary, why did they not include the interrogation of Jack in the movie? This would have increased the quality of Jack's character tenfold. The red scare was a huge part of the time period and to reference it without developing the topic further was very confusing. There are only two semi redeeming plot lines that occur during the film that can somewhat accurately portray what it may have been like to be in a camp: Mr. Kawamura's rapid decline in the camp and Charlie's turn towards Japanese allegiance. Mr. Kawamura's rapid loss of self-respect and sense of self is an accurate portrayal of what happened to many people within camp systems because it showed how camps systematically could break people's psyche. Charlie joining the JCL, shaving his hair, and being sent to Tulley can be seen as a representation of the transformation of self within the camp. Charlie, having lost a sense of purpose within the camp system, found a new purpose by directing his allegiance to Japan. Many people have little knowledge about Japanese internment camps and this movie had the opportunity to introduce people to camps in a way that was representative of the camp system but failed to do so. The audience doesn't even see the camp until halfway through the film and the buildup to the camp is focused mostly on the relationship between Jack and Lily. Overall, I wouldn't recommend anyonesee if this movie unless the purpose was to point out why Hollywood is unable to do movie about camps well.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Every empire tells itself that it is unlike all other empires, that its mission is not to plunder and control but to educate and liberate." - Edward Said

    Alan Parker's "Come See The Paradise" finds actor Dennis Quaid playing a young union activist who falls in love with and marries a Japanese woman (Tamlyn Tomita) shortly before the 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. The film subsequently becomes a giant history lesson, Parker delving into the Untied States' treatment of Japanese Americans (anti-miscegenation laws etc), their detention in massive concentration camps, their subsequent loss of civil liberties , and the plights of immigrant communities during the early 20th century.

    In many ways, "Come See The Paradise" finds Parker attempting to atone for his earlier picture, "Mississippi Burning". That film which was an anti-racist tract which ended up being racist, a fact which Parker essentially acknowledges on "Paradise's" DVD commentary track. He then admits he conceived of "Paradise" as a means of "addressing the unfinished business of racism in the United States", and that he applied to the film a level of research he'd never before undertaken, interviewing hundreds of survivors, studying thousands of photographs and painstakingly selecting Japanese background music.

    You'd think all this research would result in a dispiriting work of social realism, but no, Parker's tone is actually something else. His film is lively, at times comical, and structured as a story recounted to a young child, a technique which allows Parker to get away with a slightly sanitised, playful view history. Most of the film's best moments likewise play almost like a silent film, relying more on music and imagery than plot and dialogue. Dennis Quaid, always likable, himself at times seems to be torn out of some Charlie Chaplin movie, bumbling about as the world goes to hell.

    According to some, "Paradise" was the first American film to directly show the Japanese-American internment camps, though many other films indirectly conveyed the ordeals of the Japanese diaspora. During the war years, Hollywood did precisely the opposite, whipping up racist hysteria and portraying the Japanese as villains, saboteurs and so propagating the myth of Japanese "infiltrators" engaged in "espionage" (eg 1942's "Little Tokyo"). Other films, like 1944's "The Purple Heart", were designed to amplify the image of the savage, Japanese Imperialist, even as Western Imperialism (by 1914, the West held roughly 85 percent of the earth as colonies - up from 67 percent in 1875 - and was increasing its holdings by 240,000 square miles per year), was itself busy genociding up the place (over a million dead in the Philippines, for example).

    "Come See The Paradise" may be over-long, and may not always work, but it's nevertheless one of Parker's better films, is fairly subversive for a big-budget picture, and manages to tease out the underlying racism of a nation whose very mythology denies racial inequality.

    7.9/10 – See "Frozen River" and "Korczak". Worth one viewing.
  • The horrible way we continue to portray Americans of Asian descent in Hollywood reminds me that bigotry and tribalism will never end.

    The line that always kills every American-Asian is when a Caucasian asks 'What are you? Chinese, Japanese, Korean?" to which I reply "What are you? French, German, Dutch?"

    The film is definitely at its most emotionally powerful in its superb middle section, which beautifully dramatizes, in flashback, the shameful deportation of these Japanese-American citizens to interment camps in California, for no crime more serious than simply being of Japanese descent. Parallels to the rounding up of Jews in Nazi Germany are never far from our minds as we witness this wholesale forced migration of a group of innocent people singled- out to assuage the prejudice and fear of an ignorant but powerful majority. For these scenes alone, the film is most assuredly worth seeing.
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