CONFETTI. How far would a mother go to reverse her child’s fate? Based on writer/director Ann Hu’s story, that’s the question facing Lan (ZHU ZHU), who travels with her 9-year-old daughter Meimei (HARMONIE HE) from their small town in China to New York City.
Inflicted with a learning disability, Meimei is considered a strange and dumb girl, an outcast in her school and community. What no one recognizes, however, is that she possesses a gift waiting to be unlocked. The world seen through her eyes is unique. It sparkles. It’s filled with magic. When her mother, Lan, the wife of a poor Chinese tailor, learns that Meimei suffers from dyslexia, as she does as well (and as do 1 in 10 people worldwide), she will stop at nothing to help her. But when Thomas (GEORGE CHRISTOPHER), an American teacher at Meimei’s school offers to find a solution, they discover that there are no suitable programs for Meimei in China. Against her husband’s wishes, Lan makes a fateful decision to leave her life in China behind and venture alone with Meimei to New York City, braving a place she knows nothing about and speaking not a word of English.
Thomas’ friend Helen McClellan (Academy Award nominee AMY IRVING), wheelchair-bound, outspoken, and struggling with her own repressed grief, reluctantly takes the mother and daughter in, and over time a profound friendship between these two headstrong women forms. Lan finds work in a garment factory, determined to make ends meet and find the right educational sanctuary for Meimei. Helen, understanding Lan’s limitations and seeing Meimei’s potential, helps explore academic paths. Navigating schools for a recent immigrant with special needs presents unique challenges, and ultimately Lan’s low- wage factory job and visiting immigrant status endanger Meimei’s acceptance at a special school. Their pursuit of the impossible is a rollercoaster, impacted by the numerous people who come into their lives and affect their journey along the way.
What Lan and Meimei discover, is that in a world where people are judged and often not seen, their courage to believe in themselves against all odds will eventually lead them to people who do see them for who they truly are. Lan finally comes to understand the genius that Meimei has possessed all along, and in the end, Confetti tells the story of two people who recognize that their greatest gift is their love for one another.