Ocean Heaven (2010)

Watched 20130727 (Netflix, Instant, HD) (Mandarin audio, English subtitles)
Ocean Heaven (2010) Xiao Lu Xue. 96 min
also known as Ocean Paradise (World-wide English title)
also known as Hai yang tian tang (original title)

Relevant Links:
Ocean Paradise (IMDb.com)
Ocean Heaven (Wikipedia.org)
Ocean Heaven (Haiyang tiantang) (RottenTomatoes.com)

The movie starts with a father and son who are sitting on a boat and both tied to a weight. Then, after some moments, the two take a plunge and it looks as if the father intends to have them both killed.

A scene later, however, we see they didn't succeed in dying. We learn the father, Wang Xinchang (Jet Li), works at the aquarium as a electrician and his son Dafu comes with him. We also see that Dafu is a good swimmer.

Diagnosed with autism, Dafu's symptoms include the desire to keep things organized to his particular desire. For example, Dafu always places his stuffed-animal on top of the television, despite his dad's insistence it not be placed there. Dafu also tends to walk making orthogonal turns.

In any case, while Xincheng isn't the most understanding towards Dafu's autism, the situation is complicated by the fact that he himself has been diagnosed with late-term liver cancer and doesn't have much time left to live. As such, he is faced with figuring out who will take care of Dafu, in addition to teach Dafu some basic skills.

On a slightly more lighthearted side of the story, Dafu befriends a circus performer, a female juggler by the name of Lingling.

What sort of father is Xincheng and what will become of Dafu? Watch the movie and find out!

Despite having clicked play, I had no idea what this movie was going to be about. Interestingly, the movie I had considered watching immediately prior to choosing this one was Of Mice and Men (1992). This plot, however, is much more depressing than the plot to Of Mice and Men.

While I have not watched Of Mice and Men recently, I have seen Rain Man (1988) recently (half on 20130619 and half on 20130803). While Ocean Heaven and Rain Man differentiate on the underlying plot, the two both have a character with autism and the difficulties in trying to change their routines. As a whole, I found the plot of Ocean Heaven much more focused and plausible than Rain Man. Mainly for this reason, I like Ocean Heaven more than Rain Man.

I would recommend this movie to just about anybody, but I should note that the viewer be in the mood for something serious and touching, but in a sad, bittersweet sort of way.

Looking through the screenshots today (20130903), I was reminded by some of the sad moments, some of the happy moments, and some of the mixed emotional moments the film had to offer.

Instant comments:
Aww... the dad puts the dog back on the television.
Oh wow. At 1 hr 22 we are told Dafu's dad's suspicions on his wife's death.

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