Having been married to, and been abandoned by, an American GI and having fathered a mixed-race son, she is reduced to the lowest rung on the all-powerful Vietnamese social scale.
After the end of the Vietnam war most American GI fathers of Vietnamese children tended return to the US and forget the promises they made to their mixed-race families. America had a hard enough time dealing with the fallout from the other aspects of the war in Vietnam and chose to sweep the experiences of the families left behind, very neatly under their democratic carpet.
Known as the Bui doi - meaning less than dust, these mixed-race children with American fathers are now adults and after enduring years of hardship from their Vietnamese heritage their stories are finally coming to light.
In The Beautiful Country, a young Vietnamese woman and an American GI fall in love and are married. Shortly after, the husband disappears and the young wife find herself pregnant. After the birth of Binh, her mixed-race son, she goes from heaven to hell. Having been married to, and been abandoned by, an American GI and having fathered a mixed-race son, she is reduced to the lowest rung on the all-powerful Vietnamese social scale.
Lucky to escape with her life, the mother is forced to eke out an existence scrubbing floors. Binh her son grows up in a foster family who work him like a servant and can barely tolerate his presence. His unusual height and
facial features make him a regular target and he's grown used to taunts of Bui doi and worse that have plagued him his whole life.
One day his foster mother reveals to Binh that his birth mother is in fact still alive. And so begins this young mans journey to find the family he never knew he had. It is a treacherous journey and Binh must overcome refugee camp, a brutal ocean crossing and indentured servitude with a human-trafficking ring. His determination is strong and his quest leads him from Saigon to Malaysia to New York City and, finally, to a remote Texas ranch and a redemptive reunion.