Inspired by true events, this movie set in the 80s takes us through the turbulent life of protagonist Angie Wang (Annie Q). As a struggling Chinese-American dealing with troubled childhood, estranged parents and working class economy, Angie sees life a little different than the other privileged kids. Though facing challenges only makes her strong as her character appears confident and eager to get life back on track. When luck allows her to gain admission into one of the prestigious colleges on the West coast, Angie packs her bags and embarks on a rather hopeful journey from New Jersey.
Little does she know life is just starting to get more difficult, while she struggles to pay her bills? Debt of fees, expenses of daily living and the pressure to fit into the college with other students makes it challenging for Angie. The movie unfolds in a flawless manner as it takes us through her diverse range of emotions and feelings. From sympathy towards a little troubled girl Bree to perfect relationship with her rich yet sad roommate Jeanine Rockwell (Francesca Rosewood) , from blooming friendship with a fellow Chinese student to on and off relations with frat boys, Angie experiences varied factors in her life. The director of this movie has done an incredible job while bringing the reality of poverty, childhood, and financial pressures on screen.
As the plot takes us through Angie’s vulnerability, she falls into the big bad world of Ecstasy drugs. With access to her Chemistry laboratory, when Angie starts to produce the pills all by herself, she cracks the code to something rather dangerous. By earning surplus money, Angie’s life seems to be back on track, only to be disturbed often. Though drugs are not an answer to her problems, she gains relief in the fact of being able to take care of herself. Like a bubble waiting to explode one day, Angie’ story is just waiting to come back to reality.
Every actor has added life to their characters, making it an engaging movie from start to end. Complicated yet love-filled relationship between Angie and her father, unique and strong bond of friendship between Angie and her roommate Jeanine are some of the most special factors of the movie. Angie’s character unfolds like an onion, revealing one layer after the other. Her bold nature that insults people coupled with soft corner for Bree take a complex form as Angie makes an attempt to find herself.
Overall an excellent depiction of will, confidence, failure, and the desire to back on track again runs as the underlying theme of the movie. It focusses over the hardships faced by every individual. Whether rich or poor, every character carries the burden of some unresolved issues from the past that tend to hamper their future. Whether Angie and Jeanine succeed in solving their puzzle to a better path ahead is an interesting aspect to watch. MDMA is more about relations and society set against the framework of ill factors such as drugs.
In theaters and VOD on Friday, September 14.