Originally Posted by aelle
Side story: my friend who teaches 2nd and 3rd grade here in Seoul watched the movie Up with her class. The kids had a really culturally interesting reaction to the introductory story. When the couple was shown to be infertile, they were puzzled but not sad. When they were shown to grow old without fulfilling their dreams, no reaction. When the old man's wife dies, no reaction. When the old man, who is now an increasingly incapacitated childless widower, has to be taken to a home since there's no one to care for him (which is supposed to be a comic scene) the children started openly weeping. They definitely know and have internalized very young what is socially expected of them.
I watched "Up" too.
Also it reminded me of another American movie - "Everybody's Fine", starring Robert de Niro (2009).
In this movie, Robert plays a senior citizen whose wife has passed away and whose 4 adult children have all grown up and moved out. Like the character in "Up", Robert lives all alone in his own house, with his memories.
One year, he tries to organise a Christmas family get-together. None of his children want to come. They don't particularly hate or dislike their father. It's just this "American independence" thing. They have their own lives to lead, and those lives don't really involve their old dad anymore. They make up all sorts of fake excuses to not come, and hide their real truths from him.
Robert is determined to see all his children and he goes through all kinds of trials and tribulations to achieve this. He travels around the country trying to visit his kids, to personally give each of them his handwritten Christmas invitation cards. He himself is not in very good health (and he gets mugged along the way in a subway station; loses his pills; gets lost in strange cities on his own, etc etc).
Finally he gets a heart attack, while on a plane. The plane lands in time, and he is rushed to hospital. Then only do the children decide that they should visit their father. The movie ends with Robert recovered ... It's Christmas time, and all the children come to celebrate with him, in his house, and they have a big fat turkey, blah blah blah.
I gather that this is supposed to be a heartwarming ending.
Personally I found it tragic. Goodness sakes, you have to have a freaking HEART ATTACK, before your children will come to visit you at Christmas?
I know that this is just a movie, but if it so happens that it is also a realistic depiction of American life, then I think American life is rather sad. I hate this movie - it makes me cry. Worst Robert de Niro movie ever.
Now, if this had been an Asian movie, the adult children would not be just coming to visit at Christmas time. They would be telling Dad, "Please Dad, come live with me, you're so lonely here, you are welcome to come stay with me."
Or they would be calling each other in November, telling each other, "Oooh, Christmas is coming, we gotta organise something for Dad, shall I fly him up to my home so that he can stay for two weeks? Will you come and bring all the kids?" etc.
Or one of them would have been staying 20 minutes' drive away from him, and visiting him every weekend.