TIFF review: Coming Home Again


COMING HOME AGAIN CWC D: Wayne Wang. U.S./South Korea. 86 min. Sep 7, 5:45 pm, TIFF 1; Sep 8, 4:15 pm, Scotiabank 3; Sep 12, 2:30 pm, Scotiabank 3. Rating: NNNN

Veteran director Wang – who was at TIFF last year to mark the 25th anniversary of The Joy Luck Club – adapts Lee Chang-rae’s essay about losing his mother to cancer into a small, poignant study of filial dedication, difficult relationships, and the Korean-American experience. 

Justin Chon plays Lee, who leaves his job and his relationship in New York to come back to San Francisco when his mother (Jackie Chung) falls ill. The story flashes over the course of her illness, as Lee struggles to care for her while processing the impending loss – and dealing with his own ambivalence towards his family. 

In a festival filled with movies about terminal illness – I’ve seen maybe half a dozen in the space of a week – this is the one that stood out to me for its restraint, texture and its respect for its characters.

Don’t miss it.


A life-long Torontonian, Norman became the senior film writer for NOW in early 2008. Previously he had reviewed films for Metro newspapers across Canada and covered every video format imaginable (yes, even Beta).

Read more by Norman Wilner

September 7, 2019

2:22 PM