This isn't a well-known movie, but it's worth discovering. A young girl in Northern China is sold into what she and her father presume is marriage in Gold Rush-era America. In reality, she has been bought as a prostitue, but her values and strong will keep her from such a fate. Polly, as she becomes known, challenges the locals' views of Chinese and changes the lives of everyone who meets her. The story is based on fact, and stays pretty close to the truth, even employing some actual events and dialogue from the main character's life. As in real life, there is some humor within all of the drama. This makes an enjoyable, well-rounded movie. The location shots are beautiful, and the recreated towns and period clothes give a good, accurate feel for the history of that area. It's well-cast, and well-acted, and gives a marvelous look into events in a time and place about which few people really know very much.
A true story about Lalu, sold by her father to become a wife/slave in 19th Century America, during the time of the Gold Rush. Sold to a rich Chinese prospector in an Idaho mining town, she quickly learns the harsh realities of the `Old West'. A superbly-filmed tale, with the extremely capable Rosalind Chao as the strong Lalu, who learns that real friends don't come from obvious sources.
When this movie came out in 1991, I thought it should get the Oscar for best picture...but of course that would be unlikely for an independent film. Rosalind Chao is magnificent as a
woman who is literally sold to be a slave-wife who manages to escape this common fate because a white man falls in love with her and wins her in a gamble. For those who liked "The Joy Luck Club" or "Eat a Bowl of Tea", this is a good bet.
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