Review: ‘Wo ai ni Mommy’

An adopted child's difficult transition from mainland China to Long Island is charted in this engaging docu.

An adopted child’s difficult transition from mainland China to Long Island is charted in the engaging docu “Wo ai ni Mommy” (I Love You Mommy). Becoming de facto part of the adopting family — as well as its new addition’s only translator — Stephanie Wang-Breal gets intimate access to all emotional storms weathered by her protagonists. Slotted for PBS’ “POV” series this August, the tube producer’s feature directorial debut should win further fest, broadcast and educational exposure.

The Sadowskys are a happy, materially comfortable Jewish couple with two teenage sons and a 3-year-old Chinese daughter they all dote on. While husband Jeff minds the kids, Donna flies to China, where they’ve arranged to adopt a second, older girl. Renamed “Faith” and approximately 8 years old (her precise age is unknown), Fang Sui-yong is tearfully bewildered at leaving everything she knows behind, including a warm foster family. In the U.S., she continues pining for home, proving stubborn and temperamental. Was she too old for such drastic change? Yet over 18 months, we see positive adjustments take shape. Vivid personalities and a sharp eye for telling detail make this well-packaged docu an ingratiating winner.

Wo ai ni Mommy

Docu

Production

A Chicken & Egg Pictures production. Produced by Stephanie Wang-Breal. Executive producers, Judith Helfand, Jean Tsien. Directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal.

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-DigiBeta), Donny Tam, Wang-Breal; editor, Gigi Wong; music, Paul Goldman. Reviewed at San Francisco Asian-American Film Festival (competing), March 14, 2010. English, Cantonese dialogue. Running time: 77 MIN.

With

Donna Sadowsky, Jeff Sadowsky, Faith Sadowsky, Darah Sadowsky, Jared Sadowsky, Jason Sadowsky, Amanda Baden.
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