Eat a Bowl of Tea

Synopsis: A study in culture bridging, including ... a new US-born husband, trying to work within the traditional ways, a new China-born wife, eager to join the "dream" of America, two family-minded fathers, lots of gender-related social bifurcations.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Wayne Wang
Production: Sony Pictures Entertainment
102 min


Haven't been too lucky, huh?


Years back...

...the Chinese came to America...

...leaving their women behind.

They thought they were

going to get rich.

And they'd go back to China

and be big shots.

But it seldom worked out that way.

Then, the U.S. Exclusion laws

came down on them.

They were treated differently

from the rest of the immigrants.

For 60 years, the Chinese

couldn't become citizens...

...and no Chinese woman

could come to America.

Not even a wife.

Not even a daughter.

Chinatown was dying.

The men just kept getting older.

Their sons couldn't

find women to marry.

And there were no families.


...the second world war

changed all that.

China became America's ally.

Congress passed new laws.

The old-timers

could become citizens...

...just like everybody else.

And the boys who fought

in the U.S. Armed Forces...

...could go back to China...

...take a bride...

...and bring her to America.

So one day we were dying off,

and the next thing you know...

...everybody's talking about

arranging marriages for their kids...

...and how many grandchildren

they were going to have.

You got a letter from your wife.

You're sending all this money

to your wife?

You sent some last week already.

No wonder I don't see you

around my club.

All this land your wife

is buying in China...

...the Communists

are gonna take it anyway.

Remember that.

"Dear husband:

All is well here.

But I think it's time...

...for our son to come home

to find a wife.

You promised you would talk

to your friend...

...who has a daughter back here

in our village..."

That's enough.

I know what she's gonna say.

He just came out of the Army,

my boy.

Two years ago.

Don't you start up on me.

Just write.


"Dear wife:


"I'm fine."


"Very busy.

Business is..."

Very good?

- Excellent?

- No, no.


Otherwise, I gotta send her

more money.

Hello, Lee Gong.

Letter to my wife.

Me too.

Thank you.

You got time for a drink?

- Why not come to my laundry?

- Fine.

There's something

I want to talk to you about.

I have something to talk to you too.

Come on.

Last night,

at the Chinese Elk Club...

...this guy falls over dead

in the middle of a card game.

- Never got to see his grandchildren.

- What grandchildren?

You know, in a manner of speaking.

Same thing is gonna happen to me.

I only got one son and he acts

like there's no tomorrow.

Ben is a good boy.

Did I tell you

I saw him the other day?

I went to the place where he works.

In Hoboken? What were

you doing in Hoboken?

I had some business.

Ben Loy is very nice and very polite.

That worthless kid.

He seems very smart.

I hope that one day

your boy finds a nice young lady.

You know, Lee Gong...

...I always hoped he could

marry a girl from back home.

Like your daughter.

Yeah, time flies.

My daughter is already

a grown woman.

Let's have a drink.

- I'd like to get you...

- Really?

...on a slow boat to China.

All to myself, alone.

I wanna see that place again

where you was raked by gunfire.

You do? Hold on.

- It's way in the back there.

- Come on.

Good morning.

What's the matter

with the water at your place?

The water heater broke down.

Do I have a pimple behind my ear?

No. It's a bit red, though.

Where have you been?

I've been looking all over for you.

I was at a club.

It's a sort of youth group.

Youth group?

Youth group, my ass.

You're not a youth anymore.


...I want you to fix this place up.

This is my place now, Dad.

I wanna talk to you.

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