One of the creators of 'Take Out,' who happened to live above a Chinese restaurant, originally hatched a plan to present a mosaic of New Yorkers as seen through the eyes of bike-bound Chinese delivery men.
But director Sean Baker came to realize that a more compelling story was taking place underneath his Manhattan home: that of the delivery men themselves.
As so Baker and co-creator Shih-Ching Tsou set out (and succeeded) at producing cinéma vérité that at once captures the bustling, sweet-and-spicy chaos of a busy Chinese restaurant; the dreary, monotonous days of the delivery men, and most importantly, the fragile forlornness of undocumented Chinese immigrants who've just arrived in New York City.
The core of the film is a day in the life of delivery man Ming, who you watch as he visits nearly two dozen different New Yorkers ("think of it as the General Tso?s Chicken meets '24,'" Jennifer 8. Lee writes).
The directors sought to shine a light on the ordinary-yet-extraordinary lives of a class of people who many Americans interact with often but spend no time considering. And in Ming's story we find the deeply admirable traits of so many immigrants -- a willingness to charge through days of long, unglamorous work for a noble, largely selfless cause -- earning money that is immediately sent out of the country to provide for one's family.
And indeed, after seeing the film, you won't think twice about tipping well the next time you order in.