While growing up in Vietnam, Pham Thi Phuong never dreamed of becoming a manicurist. But when Saigon falls in 1975, a pregnant Phuong and her Air Force officer husband, Minh, are forced to flee the country on a fishing boat. With only two dollars in their pockets, Minh and Phuong finally arrive in Seattle, Washington, where they begin a new life filled with seemingly insurmountable challenges.
As the young couple welcomes their daughter, Mai, into their uncertain world, Phuong struggles to find happiness and independence in a foreign culture. Despite sensing that her mother is desperately unhappy and that her parents’ marriage is rapidly unraveling, Mai tries to remain a loving and strong daughter. In a last ditch effort to make ends meet, Phuong opens a nail salon. Expected to be a dutiful daughter and help the family business grow, the initially reluctant Mai soon develops a deep compassion and respect for her mother and the other women who become a part of the salon.
Same Same shares an intimate and heartwarming glimpse into the life of a Vietnamese nail salon worker who somehow remains strong and resilient throughout the trials in her life.