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  • 作家相片Ralph M. Tsong

Is Netflix’s All In My Family Worth Watching?

all in my family

Tolstoy once wrote, all happy families are alike but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. All in My Family, a short film released on Netflix on May 3, 2019, shows that families can be happy and unhappy and different all at the same time. 

all in my life

All in My Family explores the theme of a prodigal son returning to a family he wanted to leave and how he tries to be true to himself despite his familial and cultural pressures. In this intimate documentary, viewers follow filmmaker Hao Wu as he shares the story of surrogacy and how his family in China reacts.  

The documentary starts with his upbringing in a boisterous, traditional Chinese household and his experience with moving to New York and following his own path.  As the only male son in his family, Wu was raised to have a successful career, get married, and have his own biological children. Wu did all those things, just not in the way his family may have wanted. 

all in my life

Wu shares his experience of coming out to his conservative family and his journey of becoming a parent to two children with his Chinese-American husband. Unfortunately, his sexual orientation did not align with his traditional parents' worldview, leading to an emotional conflict between them. His parents’ reactions, years later, show that they still struggle to accept Wu’s identity.  

The audience witnesses the genuine reactions of Wu's Chinese parents as they question his egg donation and surrogacy journeys. A couple years later, he introduces his children to his family and the children and Wu are immediately accepted, but the family argues about how to explain the absence of the mother or Eric’s role in the children.  

all in my life

Wu is unsure how he would break the news to his grandfather, who is the only one not aware his grandson is gay, or that Wu’s children were born through two surrogates. This documentary highlights the generational differences and beliefs in his family. We watch as Wu brings his husband Eric into the room without lying to his grandfather and how he reacts. In the end he and Eric decide that there is no need to reveal to his grandpa that they are both fathers to the children. Everyone is happy that Wu has returned with a happy family, and his extended family, though constantly arguing, manages to pass through the family drama.  

Although specific to China, what Wu experiences may not seem too different than other immigrant family experiences, and the cultural differences we experience when we return to a family we moved away from.  His journey is deeply personal because he shares his families’ Chinese culture and how they express their love. As surrogacy becomes more popular and more normal, we feel hope there is progress as his parents and grandparents accept his nontraditional family. Wu gains wisdom to accept that changing the views of his parents and grandparents will be gradual. 


Is it Worth Watching? 

all in my life

This documentary is worth watching for anyone considering a surrogacy journey, especially with international Asian intended parents. Though his surrogacy journey itself is not the main plot point but rather the starting point, it is a short film that is a light experience to watch, and provides a rare glimpse of what same-sex intended parents may experience when they return with their child to China.  

Surrogacy agencies who have Chinese intended parents should also show this documentary to their new staff, because it will go a good way to show what family values are like in China and how surrogacy and same sex relationships are managed in Chinese culture. 

Since it is a short length with funny moments and never too heavy, we recommend it to anyone who is interested in surrogacy or Chinese culture.   

All In My Family is available for streaming on Netflix.  

The legal part of the surrogacy process is sadly not covered in this film. Perhaps it was omitted for brevity. For those who are looking to learn about the legal process, contact the surrogacy lawyers of Tsong Law Group for more information. 


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