Kit (Henry Golding) arrives in Vietnam ahead of his older brother to search out a meaningful place to scatter their parents’ ashes. It’s a country Kit last knew as a six-year-old boy when his family fled to England as ‘boat refugees’ in the turbulent aftermath of the American-Vietnam war. He barely recognizes Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) now and grapples with a growing sense of cultural dislocation made all the worse by the fact that he has forgotten how to speak the language. Whilst exploring his old neighborhood he visits his estranged second cousin, Lee, who helps him piece together the hazy memories of his fractured childhood.
Kit arranges an on-line date with Lewis (Parker Sawyers), a handsome and sensitive African American clothes designer whose father fought in the American-Vietnam war. Despite some initial tension over their parents’ opposing roles in the conflict, a romance sparks between the man Lewis introduces Kit to the more vibrant and contemporary parts of the city. Kit also meets Linh (Molly Harris), a young Vietnamese student who embodies the spirit of a new generation, carving out an identity in modern Vietnam despite feeling constrained by her family’s traditional values and their expectations of her.
Continuing the search for a meaningful location to scatter the ashes, Kit takes the long train journey North to his parents’ native Hanoi. He visits the apartment where his parents lived and meets up with Linh who introduces him to her family and the age-old art of lotus tea scenting. Hanoi holds no memories for Kit, yet the legacy of the war permeates this city. On his return to HCMC Kit reconnects with Lee who reminds him of the hardship his parents went through to leave Vietnam. He picks up his brother and his family at the airport before meeting up with Lewis again. That initial spark they shared has developed into something hopeful, two men putting the past behind them in a country full of new possibilities. MONSOON is a rich and poignant reflection on the struggle for identity in a place where the past weighs heavily on the present. By tackling the personal and political legacies that have shaped them, Kit, Lewis and Linh can start to write an exciting new chapter in their lives