There are many news stories about the assimilation of Vietnamese youth into American society as honor students and valedictorians. But one group of Vietnamese immigrants has had trouble - the Amerasian children of U.S. servicemen and Vietnamese mothers.
As many as 100,000 Amerasian children were left in Vietnam when the American troops pulled out. Most endured lives of poverty and prejudice. Recently the U.S. has allowed a few Amerasians to migrate to the United States. But American life does not always meet the expectations of these young refugees, and they often don't measure up to the hopes and demands of their new homes.
This documentary unflinchingly focuses on one such refugee from the streets of Saigon who arrives with no English language skills and little tolerance for the American foster care system. After Vinh arrives, dazed and disoriented, at JFK Airport, he tells his suburban foster family that he is just fifteen. Suspicions arise when, after the first week, bottles begin to disappear from the liquor cabinet, and the foster-family discovers that, instead of an adolescent, they have adopted a hardened 21-year-old whose streetwise habits had been shaped by years of hand-to-mouth survival in Saigon.
The Story of Vinh illuminates the United States' failure to integrate young men and women like Vinh into the social fabric and forces us to examine the legacy of the Vietnam War, the limits of our societal obligations to refugees, and the challenges surrounding their assimilation into American society.
It is also a story about transition - youth to manhood, Vietnamese to American, and dreams to reality.