No Crying at the Dinner Table: Review of a Short Documentary Film by Carol Nguyen

No Crying at the Dinner Table is a short documentary by filmmaker Carol Nguyen. Nguyen interviews her own family to demonstrate some of the stories left untold. In this purgative film, she brings to light the emotional difficulties and carefully composed image of intergenerational wounds, pain and grief that are often left unsaid. She interviews her parents and sister about what stories or things they feel they left unsaid, and their intergenerational hurt. This offers relief and an open door to some of these wounds. In a nutshell, it is a collection of  confession and confrontation.

break up

No Crying at the Dinner Table is a profound documentary. Intergenerational wounds are something most people face and when not dealt with, can become a perennial problem. Too often in our society, we’ve seen families lose themselves over these wounds, over things left unsaid or things nobody did anything about. This is another thing that makes this documentary a profound documentary: it helps to illustrate how in most intergenerational crises, family is the foundation for healing to be able to build a better generation and relationship. Sometimes, parents may be repeating their pain on their children without even being aware that it is what they are doing. This hurt ends up being internalized and later reflected, and we just end up going round the same circle without realizing it.

woman holding white rose

The documentary reveals how important it is to say these things left unsaid. In some cases, these things left unsaid are misunderstandings that have been going on for generations but when we talk these things out, we clear up misunderstandings and see things from a different perspective. So, not communicating this hurt alone is a wound in itself. Filmmaker Carol Nguyen uses this documentary to enlighten us on such factors as it takes us through this purgative journey. She gives her family and the viewers this amazing opportunity. It’s a courageous documentary sharing her family with the world.

Family eating dinner

Not only does this documentary enlighten the world, but it also helps to bring the priceless gift of confrontation and healing to her family. No Crying at the Dinner Table is second to none for being profound and courageous, and I highly recommend it.

You can watch the film here.