It wasn’t the inspirational true story that impacted me most while watching Sight, nor was it the message about not giving up when there seems to be every reason to do just that. Those are undoubtedly positive qualities, but what really got me was a part of the plot that didn’t resolve itself the way I expected it to. That surprise could have been easily altered. It wasn’t, and the faith-based film’s major theme hits harder as a result. I can’t imagine anyone not being touched by this profoundly humane story.

Ming Wang (Terry Chen) is one of the most respected and accomplished eye surgeons in America. He operates his own clinic with colleague Misha Bartnovsky (Greg Kinnear). They receive a visit from a Catholic nun, Sister Marie (Fionnula Flanagan), asking them to help Kajal (Mia SwamiNathan), a young orphan girl who had acid poured in her eyes and can barely see. Ming isn’t sure there’s anything he can do because of the severity of the injury, yet he agrees to try.

Intercut with the thread about him attempting to help Kajal is a second thread detailing Ming’s youth in China. His desire to become a doctor is nearly upended when Communist forces close the schools. Suddenly, this prodigy’s potential looks as though it will be stifled.

Those two halves of Sight work beautifully together. In both instances, Ming is confronted with an obstacle that appears insurmountable. How does a single teenager confront Communism? How does a doctor undo irreparable eye damage? Director Andrew Hyatt (The Blind) carefully infers that going through his youthful struggle teaches Ming to never stop believing during his current struggle. He may need an occasional pep talk from Misha, but in his heart, he knows an effort is always worth making.

Terry Chen is exceptional in the lead role. His performance is subtle, yet it undeniably conveys the swirl of emotions taking place inside Ming’s head. Especially potent is his obvious fear of failure. If he can’t help Kajal, it might mean there’s a limit on what he can do to help others. His ability to heal could be finite, a proposition that terrifies him. Chen brings that out with skill. Some of the best scenes in Sight show the doctor formulating a new theory that involves replicating certain properties of an infant in the womb. The actor captures the pure excitement this possible breakthrough represents.

The film is not without a few awkward steps. A subplot where Ming meets and romances a bartender (i.e. his future wife) is unnecessarily crammed in. There isn’t time to develop it properly, so their relationship comes across as cliche. It’s also a little odd that Kajal isn’t fully fleshed out as a character, considering the massive impact she has on Ming’s life and career. The girl is present more as a totem than as a key player.

Beyond that, Sight is movie that hits you right in the feels. Inherent in the story is the idea that God gives us talents, and we must honor those talents by always using them to the fullest. Uplifting and stirring, this is a feel-good film in the truest sense of the term.

out of four

Sight is rated PG-13 for violence and thematic material. The running time is 1 hour and 40 minutes.

© 2024 Mike McGranaghan