No! Don't leave the baby with the Commies! But that's exactly what parents Nastassja Kinski and Tony Goldwyn have to do when they flee 1950s Communist Hungary to start anew in Los Angeles. They plan to have baby Suzanne sent to them soon, but granny makes a mistake, and the immigrant family isn't reunited for another six years. After this promising first half--featuring a heart-tugging performance by Kelly Endresz-Banlaki as six-year-old Suzanne--writer-director Éva Gardos' autobiographical labor of love starts to feel, well, labored.
Turning into an angry, annoying adolescent, Suzanne (now Scarlett Johansson) makes a real Buda pest of herself, fighting endlessly with mom and longing for a trip back to Hungary. Finally visiting her homeland, she stares wide-eyed at everyone and everything. But we don't have enough connection to her as a character, and we're left out of her emotional journey. Albeit heartfelt, American Rhapsody leaves you Hungary for more.