"The Owl and the Sparrow" takes place in a small Vietnamese village. Ten-year-old Thuy (Pham Thi Han) is mostly confined to working in her uncle's bamboo factory. This changes when she runs away to Saigon. Thuy must come to grips with the challenges of daily survival and becomes part of an interconnected relationship with beautiful flight attendant Lan (Cat Ly) and lonely zookeeper Han (Le The Lu). To avoid the authorities and her strict uncle tracking her down, Thuy must summon all her cleverness and determination in her attempt at lasting happiness.
The film is somewhat predictable but is remarkable in its feeling of hope. Young Han is immediately endearing. Though she elicits sympathy, we admire her independence and ability to survive day to day in the crowded streets of Saigon. The film starts to feel contrived when the two characters Thuy meets merge so neatly. Though we get a sense of Thuy's less-than-ideal existence, director Stephane Gauger downplays harsher elements of life on the streets in favor of a more romanticized perspective. Bonus extras include director's audio commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and deleted scenes.