Screenwriters are finally addressing China’s “struggle sessions” of the 1960s.

The country’s cultural revolution, where government-backed youth violently attempted to erase the “Four Olds,” got an unflattering close-up in “3 Body Problem.”

Now, the hero behind the fact-based “Sight” recalls how China’s Red Guard tried to crush his professional dreams. It’s part of an ambitious and occasionally stirring drama that feels constrained all the same.

Dr. Ming Wang (a sublime Terry Chen) is one of the country’s leading eye surgeons. He can bring vision back in near-impossible cases, and his skills have earned him sizable media buzz.

He’s flummoxed by an Indian girl blinded by her mother for the cruelest reasons possible. Her physical damage seems beyond even Dr. Wang’s skill set. The attempt to restore her vision forces him to confront his troubled childhood and an emotional legacy he’s yet to resolve.

He grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution, and his plans to study medicine got seemingly crushed by Red Guard thugs. The film doesn’t shy away from the Maoist movement or its insidious nature. 

We’re also introduced to Lili (Sara Ye), someone who meant the world to Ming both then and now.

Director Andrew Hyatt (“The Blind,” “The Frozen”) alternates those flashbacks with a nimble touch, but Ming’s family strife cries out for richer details. As is, the tensions play out in a perfunctory fashion.

What should have been the film’s emotional lynchpin is just a few bullet points on our hero’s personal resume.

Greg Kinnear co-stars as Dr. Wang’s medical partner, and their complicated relationship offers a refreshing break from the cookie-cutter narrative. Had “Sight” delved deeper into their bond the bland flashbacks would be more forgivable.

Kinnear remains an underrated performer whose naturalistic approach enhances every movie he’s in.


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The story mostly steers clear of faithful messaging, but when it’s showcased later in the film it lacks resonance. 

There’s still an undeniable allure to Dr. Wang’s journey. He stares at his computer screen, willing the best way to treat his patience to appear. That dedication isolates him from friends. It also threatens a possible romance with a kindly bartender (Danni Wang).

Their scenes show another side of the good doctor, and watching her warm to his innate goodness is something rarely seen today.

Too many screen romances hang on farcical meet-cutes and misunderstandings. 

“Sight” can’t help but move audiences with its selfless hero. The tale puts a human face on innovation, revealing the sacrifices that make breakthroughs possible. Dr. Wang’s life story deserves the spotlight, and thanks to Chen’s performance it’s rewarding despite its imperfections.

HiT or Miss: “Sight” offers old-school entertainment, but it’s hard not to see a better movie lurking beneath the surface.

The post ‘Sight’ Delivers Safe but Satisfying Fact-Based Yarn appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.


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