At some point in our lives, most of us look at ourselves and wonder how the hell we got to where we are. Far from the idealistic youths we were twenty years ago, today we’re stuck in boring jobs we don’t particularly like, and watching the days pass until retirement. Families form and get torn apart. At this tender crossroads, we can’t help but wonder where the time went and what happened to the person we thought we’d be. Sometimes it takes a serious kick in the a*s to get us out of that funk and on with our lives. Writer/director Tom Huang examines this dynamic in his beautiful feature Find Me.
“…gets a mysterious letter in the mail with a clue to her whereabouts.”
Huang plays Joe, a divorced accountant living on takeout and overtime, who spends his spare time caring for his guilt-tripping sick mother. His only joy comes from his work friend Amelia (Sara Amini), an energetic, adventurous, fun woman that loves nature and wants nothing more than to get Joe out of his aimless existence. After hearing some distressing news, she goes missing, though, and nobody has any idea where she’s gone until Joe gets a mysterious letter in the mail with a clue to her whereabouts. After some digging around, he realizes Amelia has sent him on a complex scavenger hunt, leading him to rediscover himself in his tireless search for his dear friend.
Honestly, this film could have easily devolved into some corny Nicholas Sparks drivel or low-brow comedy bro-fest, but instead, Huang tells it perfectly, never getting too sappy or letting the humor get in the way of the story. Huang’s character of Joe is completely relatable, a regular, everyday guy drifting through life without even realizing it’s passing him by. He’s also not afraid to poke a little fun at his Chinese American heritage, acknowledging his ethnicity while recognizing the humor in it.
“…nature performs opposite Huang, becoming a character of its own…”
While on his journey, Joe meets several interesting characters, all excellently portrayed by their respective actors, but here, the surroundings play as important a role. Rather than just sit in the background, nature performs opposite Huang, becoming a character of its own that interacts and responds to our protagonist as he experiences life for quite possibly the first time in his life. Much credit goes to cinematographer Kyle Crowell for making the scenery come to life.
We may wake up one day and realize we’re not where we thought we’d be twenty years ago, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up. Instead, we need to find that thing keeps us going, that reminds us that there’s more to life than salaries and mortgages and 401(k)s. Thanks to Tom Huang for saying it so eloquently.
Find Me (2019) Directed by Tom Huang. Written by Tom Huang. Starring Sara Amini, Tom Huang, Krizia Bajos, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mike Rock and Jaycie Dotin.
8 out of 10 stars