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My Best Worst Adventure

USA 2020
produced by
Kaew Tavoranon, Ray Huber, Fabienne Wen (executive), June Wong (executive) for Itsy Bitsy Film, Motionpictures Company, Road Dawg Films
directed by Joel Soisson
starring Lily Patra, Pan Rugtawatr, Chinnaphat Kitichaivaranggoon, Phanida Suwansaad, Jim S. Meesri, Pubet In-Tharid, Cheeraporn Manakornkowit, Eoin O'Brien, Vichuda Kaewsanan, Mathilde Lorenzon, Pattamanat Kunhayothin, Zabian Songpon, Kosal Wongtassaneeyo, Phongsaran Sriset, Pitinun Rugtawatr, Nusorn Panpeng, Chuea Saensanthia, Naruthai Chanpradit, Boonler Boonchana, Phana Bensu, Montien Dejchinda, Somchat Chortong, Geoffrey Giuliano, Claudia Templeton, Tyler Nyerges, Lily Bhusadhit-a-nan, Somdej Ketwattha, Theptacha Pothiket, Jack Bungkan, Prapai Chonvanich, Korrawit Kongprawej, Den Chansree, Watchara Intamaploy, Wathanyoo Chansree, Jirapong Chansree
story by Chariyanan Tavoranon, screenplay by Joel Soisson, music by Vanilla Sky

review by
Mike Haberfelner

For the summer, Jenny (Lily Patra), a girl who doesn't speak, is sent from LA to rural Thailand to spend time with her grandmother (Phanida Suwansaad) she has never even met, without even speaking or understanding a word of Thai. At first she sees that merely as a punishment, especially since she has the overwhelming feeling she doesn't belong, and that her grandmother has put her into the local school doesn't make things better as she can't really follow any of the lessons - and the only boy in school who speaks any English, Archit (Chinnaphat Kitichaivaranggoon), is an over-confident bully. Jenny tries to run away, but to no avail. Eventually though, she takes a liking to Boonrod (Pan Rugtawatr), son of poor parents and thus the prime target of Archit's bullying, a boy who like she doesn't talk. Boonrod's best friend is his parents' lone buffalo, and over him he and Jenny manage to bond. Thing is, Boonrod's father (Pubet In-Tharid) is highly in debt, and eventually he sees no other way out but giving away the buffalo, which is when Boonrod and Jenny make a getaway with the animal. However, just running won't solve anything, so they decide for Boonrod and the buffalo to participate in a buffalo race. Problem is, Archit is the local buffalo racing champion, and he's not likely to let Boonrod, an accomplished buffalo rider, win just like that - even if Archit has resort to cheating ...

 

Sure, the basic premise of My Best Worst Adventure is a tried and true one, a coming-of-age story with a little-engine-that-could plotline and some exotic locale for colour and a finale that's sure to make you shed some tears. Thing is, all of this seems very fresh in this film, for one because the film doesn't try to sugarcoat things, goes for true understanding of its Thai backdrops rather than a travelogue approach, and lets its underdog story slowly blossom rather than hit the audience over the head with it, and wisely spends much time developing its main characters to full-blown persons, even without the help of spoken words. And the outcome is the rare example of a family film that subtly gets under your skin regardless of your age.

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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