Sight (2023)

Movie Info

Movie Info

Andrew Hyatt
Run Time
1 hour and 40 minutes

VP Content Ratings

Sex & Nudity
Star Rating
★★★★4.5 out of 5

Relevant Quotes

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 People do not light a lamp and put it under the bushel basket; rather, they put it on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16
But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings,  sometimes being publicly exposed to insults and afflictions and sometimes becoming partners with those so treated.

Hebrews 10:32
Sister Marie brings the blind Kajal to Dr. Wang. (c) Angel Studios

A press conference opens this film. Dr. Ming Wang has just performed another ground-breaking eye surgery. However, he is a  humble man for one so gifted, and so he does not seem to bask in the acclaim his surgical skill has brought to him. As we will see, the film stresses the importance, of perseverance, faith, memory, and sight as being more than physical.

We follow two narratives in director Andrew Hyatt’s “based on a true story” film: The first narrative is in present day Nashville where eye surgeon Dr. Ming Wang (Terry Chen)  and his colleague Dr. Misha Bartnovsky (Greg Kinnear) are visited by Catholic nun Sister Marie (Fionnula Flanagan), asking them to help Kajal (Mia SwamiNathan), a young orphan girl from India who had acid poured into her eyes and can barely see. Ming isn’t sure there’s anything he can do because of the severity of the injury.

The second narrative is set in China during the 70s when Ming is the young son (played by Ben Wang) hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both of them doctors. Unfortunately, China’s Cultural Revolution erupted, with the Red Guards closing the schools and persecuting the educated. When a teenager the boy (played by Jayden Zhang) also is separated from  his first love, Lili (Sara Ye) when she is arrested. Unable for their son to obtain an education, the family emigrates to the US where their Asian background proves to be an obstacle for Wang, despite his superior grades. Even in America it is an uphill battle for the young man but supported by his family, he perseveres, graduating from MIT and Harvard in spite of their disbelief in him because he is Asian.  He eventually emerges as a leading eye doctor doing ground-breaking research.

In the present narrative Dr. Wang is reluctant to treat the Indian girl because the damage to her eyes is so extensive. Young Kajal’s is a truly tragic story. When her impoverished stepmother learned that people are more likely to donate to a street beggar who is blind, she pours sulfuric acid into the girl’s eyes. But then, perhaps because of his haunting memory of being unable to help Lili back in China, he accepts the challenge, entering into a series of experiments. But the usual arc of initial failure giving way to eventual success is not that of this film. Kajal remains blind, despite the heroic efforts of Dr. Wang. And yet the girl remains cheerful, with such a positive attitude toward life that she inspires the doctor and others who meet her.

Kajal reminds me of the crippled  girl Miriam in The Robe whom Jesus did not heal. The film’s hero Marcellus, during his search for the robe of Jesus, first hears her one night in a Palestinian village singing for the gathered villagers. Her song is a lovely narrative of the resurrection of Jesus at the empty tomb. The next day when Marcellus talks with the young woman, he says that Jesus failed to heal her, but she demurs, pointing out that he healed her spirit, rather than her legs. She had been embittered by her ailment, a negative influence on everyone. By curing her heart and mind but leaving her legs the same, he had transformed her into a far more effective witness to his love and power.

Because Dr. Wang is so impressed by the girl, he keeps on persevering in his research and surgery. Because of this, it is unfortunate that more of Kajal’s backstory is not included in the film. The film does show an unexpected romance between the doctor and vivacious bartender Anle (Danni Wang), but this is not developed very much, and could have been left out. (I suspect it was included because Anle will become his wife.) It would have served the film better to have shown how Kajal met Sister Marie, accepted her benefactor’s Christian faith, and thus later was able to absorb the failure of her surgery.

Regardless of the above reservation, this is an inspiring film of perseverance and faith. The title not only refers to the goal of Dr. Wang’s career, to restore sight to the blind, but also to the cultivation of spiritual sight, to discern what is important in life, namely, to be of service to those whom we meet. Both Dajal and Dr. Wang are examples of what Jesus meant when in his Sermon on the Mount he called his followers “the light of the world.”

I encourage families and youth see and discuss it. Angel Studios have earned the lesson that telling a story of faith and love is better than preaching the Gospel overtly.

This review will be in the June issue of VP along with a set of questions for reflection and/or discussion. If you have found reviews on this site helpful, please consider purchasing a subscription or individual issue in The Store.

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