Eat a Bowl of Tea Review

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On returning from fighting for America in WWII, Ben Loy (Russel Wong) brings back his wife, Mei Oy (Miao) but finds the old way of life is no longer there, and the new life is one of multiple, multi-layered pressures.


Until shortly after World War Two, Asian immigrants to America weren’t allowed to bring their wives and daughters with them. The law was then relaxed to allow Chinese-American servicemen to bring home native brides.

Eat A Bowl Of Tea’s hero Ben Loy (Russell Wong) is one such. In 1949 he returns to New York’s Chinatown with his new bride Mei Oi (Cora Miao). Unfortunately for the couple, much of the community’s hopes and dreams for the future are invested in them; their marriage must not only be seen to be successful, it must also produce a whole bunch of children - thus ensuring the survival of their community.

The downshift from war to domesticity is faultlessly done, creating a cosy little pressure-cooker of bathos.