Tag Archives: Terry Chen

What’s Up, Doc?


by Hope Madden

Sight, the latest inspirational film from director/co-writer Andrew Hyatt (Paul, The Apostle of Christ; All Those Small Things), leads by example rather than preaching to the choir. It’s still a mishmash of a result, but it is a step in a better direction.

Terry Chen plays Dr. Ming Wang, a real-life eye surgeon whose foundation restores sight to many without the financial means to cover the surgery themselves. But Sight tells the story that leads to this philanthropic action.

The film opens on a press conference. Dr. Wang has just performed another breakthrough surgery, but his humility and stoicism keep him from enjoying the moment. This perplexes his wizened and good-natured colleague, Dr. Misha Bartnovsky (Greg Kinnear).

Kinnear spends the next hour and forty minutes with a perpetual half smirk, half grimace as he nudges Dr. Wang toward a little satisfaction, a little happiness. Maybe a date.

Most of that running time is actually spent with young Ming Wang (Ben Wang), who grew up during China’s Cultural Revolution with a passion to become a doctor. But when those in power start burning books, you know nothing good can come of it. His life becomes a nightmare that still haunts the adult doctor. Maybe if he can save one little girl, it will all be worth it?

That’s the core crisis in Sight, and it feels pretty forced, pretty made-for-TV, as does most of the film. There’s a great deal of exposition, loads of characters, endless flashbacks, all of it skimming the surface of the story. Every character has one note: benevolent, anguished, optimistic, supportive, or evil. No one gets to be human.

Hyatt’s approach is safe, his film superficial and earnest. And though the plot takes an unexpected turn—because life took an unexpected turn for Dr. Wang and his patient—Hyatt seems desperate to tidy up, to make the narrative fit the expected framework rather than embracing its messiness.

Dr. Wang has no doubt led a remarkable and inspirational life, and anyone who’s contributed this much good to the world deserves to be appreciated. Sight does that. It does far less as a film—as a stand-alone piece of art with depth and honesty. But it’s nice and it tells a nice, safe story.