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Becoming Your Own Woman at 60: Meditate on This Movie

"Meditation Park" is the must-watch story of one woman's journey to finding her own path later in life.

Looking for a good movie on Netflix right about now? We can relate. Try Meditation Park—it tells the story of 60-something Maria Wang (played by Cheng Pei Pei), who’s emigrated to Canada from China. She has been a dutiful (translation: submissive) wife but makes a surprising discovery one day while doing laundry, and the truth begins to unfurl: Her husband is having an affair.

The main character rallies with the simple statement, “I can do more.”

Slowly, as she sees that the life she thought she had was an illusion, she begins to discover a new, more independent way of life. Filmmaker Mina Shum has said that Chinese women of Maria’s generation were raised to obey their fathers, then their husbands, and finally their sons—she wanted to explore what would happen if a woman broke with that routine and was liberated from those strictures.

Meditation Park: Based on True Events

The film is inspired by Shum’s own journey arriving in Canada as a child and seeing how deep a difference there was between her mother’s way of life and the way she was raised to move through the world: “We immigrated [from China] in the ‘60s. I was a baby. [My mother] was a young woman coming to Canada, hearing about women’s lib and the Beatles and burning bras. But her life was very different. She was here to serve the survival of her family. And yet she taught her daughters to be completely independent and educated, and not to need anyone, especially a man.”

In Meditation Park, Maria—who speaks little English—begins to stand up to her husband, break out of her social isolation, and determine her own path. She rallies with the simple statement, “I can do more.” The beautifully acted film, which also stars Sandra Oh (of Grey’s Anatomy fame), as one of Maria’s daughters—has a 100 percent “liked it” score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a tender “slice of life” movie to curl up with on a cold night.

By Janet Siroto


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