The Debut
The Debut (2000)

Ben Mercado is a talented high school senior who enrolls in a prestigious art school in order to realize his dreams of becoming an animator. However, his plans come into conflict with those of his immigrant father Roland, a postal worker… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: September 9, 2003
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Critic Score: 74% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Chuck Wilson
L.A. Weekly

Director Gene Cajayon, with co-writer John Manal Castro and a charming cast, continually subverts expectations.

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Lawrence Van Gelder
New York Times

A neat blend of well-drawn major characters and drama, music, dance, romance and humor that generates considerable charm and achieves a heartwarming resolution of its generational conflict.

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Christopher Null

The Joy Luck Club did the "white people are ignorant" story with less obviousness

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Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter

Mostly the situations, albeit compressed, ring true; the characters are admirably multi-dimensional, and there are welcome doses of humor that compensate for any contrivances.

Laura Sinagra
Village Voice

The film has a sweet low-budget quality that sometimes slips into TV-movie schmaltz.

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Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide's Movie Guide

That it feels so predictable is, ironically, a tribute to the universality of the experience it explores.

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Lou Lumenick
New York Post

An earnest and predictable little indie.

Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times

Celebrates community and family, and does so in such a warm-hearted way that its formulaic nature is easily forgiven.

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Harvey S. Karten

Predictable but heartfelt, and valuable in that it is one of the first Filipino-American productions.

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