monica’s review published on Letterboxd:
“every new discovery is just a reminder…”
“we are all small and stupid.”
this movie has had such a profound impact on me i think its taken me several months to digest it.
this is visually one of the most beautiful films i have ever seen. kwan and schienert’s maximalist filmmaking was so visually striking, stunning, and completely different to everything i’ve ever seen.
the acting was perfect. michelle yeoh deserves so much credit for this. i saw an interview about how she felt like this role could finally show the world her talent, and how much that meant to her. and i think knowing that, and seeing her performance— you could tell how much this meant to her, and how much work it must have been. she was so perfect for this role, and perfect in every situation. ke huy quan also deserves an insurmountable amount of credit. when he was in the movie theatre universe, he was almost unrecognisable.
this film is about so much. it is about the immigrant experience, both first-generation immigrants and children born into immigrant families, and how the institutions around you harm you. it is about trauma, how the people you love can hurt you the most, how you need them anyways. it is about wishing where you are was different, wishing you were different, wondering where you would be if you made different choices. its about potential. and wondering if you are the best that you could have been. its about complex mother-daughter relationships. its about validation. its about kindness.
most of all, its about finding love everywhere you are. even when you have hot dogs for fingers or you have a raccoon on your head.
side note: one thing i think that was captured really well is the nature of language in immigrant households. the ability of the parents to switch from english to mandarin whenever they wanted to, to their advantage or just casually, was so realistic as someone from an immigrant household. i related a lot to the daughter, who could understand but was unconfident to speak. these are the details that truly are important to the representation of poc/immigrants in a film and just made me so so happy. how casual all of the cultural aspects were.