Hao Wu’s documentary All In My Family is intimate, well-made, but equally as essential to understanding disparate worlds.
It’s strange to think that many of us take for granted a life where choices are standard, and not a punishing situation; we can choose our education, our careers, and our partners. We even have the option to adopt if conception is not possible. Our Western society can be what we want it to be, and those who oppose individuals who are just being themselves are for the most part frowned upon. Short Netflix documentary All In My Family makes you understand just how privileged we are to the basics in life.
For Hao Wu, he did not have that luxury of being himself. As a gay Chinese boy, he grew up having to suppress his feelings, and live in a way he did not accept. Moving to America, he decided to be a filmmaker, and he documented his loving, traditional Chinese family’s process of acceptance. All In My Family is a window, a timeline of how Hao adjusted to America but also had to adjust to letting his Chinese family be a part of his beautiful life.
It’s strange to watch the differences in culture; the moments where he had to address the concept of surrogate mothers so he can have children with his partner is just as terrifying as it is insightful. All In My Family sees the disparate thinking from two different worlds and Hao and his partner fit in the middle of it, trying to find a compromise to make one side happy. But this is a lovely little documentary that shows that there is always hope to be different, even if your own family does not necessarily agree.
All In My Family doesn’t suggest it’s the family’s fault. The direction and the upbeat music frame that they are a product of their upbringing, which was inherited by them from their own culture. I found this to be a refreshing take, but at the same time, I am not sure if the LGBTQ community will embrace the message with open arms because, by definition, Hao had to restructure his entire family life in the most critical moments to ensure his family was at least comfortable. Yes, there is a degree of acceptance, but the question is; why should he have to adjust so much for being himself? I guess the answer to that question is that family is also essential.
All In My Family is an intimate eye-opener, a documentary that is important and must be watched.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.