Movie Review – Children of Invention October 10, 2009

Movie Review – Children of Invention October 10, 2009

By Perry S. Chen

4 starfish (out of 5)

Can you imagine two young kids being abandoned in a house for days without knowing where their mom went? In the award-winning independent film “Children of Invention,” Raymond and his younger sister Tina were facing such challenge. Raymond knew exactly what to do as he understood that the world could be more dangerous than the one imagined by his little sister Tina who was naïve and thought that everything would be there for her.

Their mom Elaine is a good-natured woman who desperately needs money after her husband divorced her and went back to Hong Kong, leaving her and the kids financially scrambling. She accidentally got trapped in a pyramid scheme where you pay a lot of money for membership and are required to convince other to do the same, eventually getting robbed of your life in the end.

The pyramid scheme had tantalizing promise of instant money. Elaine couldn’t resist.

When Elaine and her kids were evicted from their home due to foreclosure, Elaine’s realtor friend allowed them to stay in a vacant, unfinished home where the new tenant had not moved in. Elaine dragged Raymond and Tina to all the parties and meetings organized by the leaders of the pyramid scheme business. When Elaine suddenly disappeared without warning, Raymond and Tina had to fend for themselves.

Tina always wanted her favorite food, pizza. Raymond knew about the cost of different foods, while Tina, like most little kids, was totally unaware. Surviving mostly on instant noodles, Raymond decided to make inventions out of plastic forks and hand-held mini electric fans, using the $500 savings that their grandparents put into his savings account. Raymond’s ambitious goal was to earn $1 million from selling his inventions so that they can buy back the home they lost.

My favorite character is Raymond. He is quiet and talks only when he needs to. He is caring and takes care of his little sister. He is resourceful and has to make all the decisions when his mom disappeared.

I thought it was ironic and funny when both Raymond and Tina had a $1 million bill in their separate dreams. In Raymond’s dream, the bank teller said “You have too much money in your account,” you know how much money was in there! In Tina’s dream, she and her brother were yelling for people to buy their $10 inventions. A car drove by and a man gave Tina much, much more than their inventions were worth!

I like the movie because it has vivid and colorful characters. The movie is about courage, pitfalls, risks, and survival.

I give “Children of Inventions” four starfish. I wonder why the school’s teachers and principal weren’t shown in the film, and it is hard to imagine that they would not be worried about the two missing children from their school.

I learned that the film was inspired by the director’s own childhood experiences. The human spirit can thrive even in the harshest circumstance.


Perry Chen is a 9-year-old columnist, movie critic, and radio show host of “Perry Previews the Movies” on .

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