Continuing on our whirlwind review storm through the Childish Film series of the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival we saw Fortune Favors the Brave on Sunday morning. This is a German film that explores the very different worlds of the average middle class child and children of immigrants.
Fortune Favors the Brave- Review
In this film, Linh who is 11 and mature beyond here years is left to care for her 9-year-old sister, Tien, when her mother has to go back to Vietnam to care for her own aging mother. Along the way, she forms a friendship with lonely Pauline, also 11 years old and tries to stay under the radar of the school and the authorities.
I really loved the way this film dug into the hidden issues that plague immigrants, both legal and illegal. I think the actions of the mother may have seemed more implausible to me if I hadn’t been reading Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories from a Minneapolis High School (affiliate link*), a collection of essays by students at Wellstone High School about their experiences as immigrants. It became obvious, both from this book and from the story in this film that some things we consider rights and obligations are actually privileges we were born into. Things we take for granted — the right to an education, the right to a childhood, the right to stay together as a family, the right to walk freely on the streets without carrying proof of citizenship — are not universal rights.
On the less positive side, I think this film had too many detours and didn’t flesh out the various subplots enough. I think if the writers had left out the absent father subplot, they could have developed the characters of the neighbors a bit more (or vice versa). We left the film with unanswered questions and had to invent “maybe” answers.
This film is recommended for ages 9+. I would add that it is best for children with strong reading skills or who speak German. Vietnamese is spoken less frequently and is accompanied by subtitles in both German and English. Nine year olds may struggle with all the deeper concepts but will enjoy the story. For older kids this is a great opportunity to instill some empathy and ask them to step outside of their own privilege for little while. I recommend pairing it with the book, if you have the chance. The essays are easy reads and each one stands alone, but combined and with this film, they offer a perspective of world events we may not see every day in our middle class American lives.
This film was originally reviewed as part of the Childish Films section of the 2017 Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival. FFTC was provided with tickets to facilitate our review. Find more movie reviews from past film festivals here.
Fortune Favors the Brave– Details and Viewing Info
You can view the trailer for the film below.
*The book link is an affiliate link to FFTC’s Amazon Store. We receive a small portion of any sales.
Family Fun Twin Cities received a ticket to facilitate the review of this film.