2 Best Movies to Watch by Tamlyn Tomita

Staff & contributors

Before Turning Red and Crazy Rich Asians, there was The Joy Luck Club. Based on the bestselling novel, the film adaptation centers around the four Chinese-American women and their relationships with their mainland-born mothers. Explaining that the club isn’t particularly joyful or lucky, the film starts from June’s perspective, a perspective of a Chinese-American woman who’s lived all her life in America. However, through strategic screenplay structure and effective sequence arrangement, we learn the struggles of the founding club members, the struggles that brought them to another country, which forms the dynamics between them and their American daughters. Because of how comprehensive and layered the film is, this underrated film adaptation is a phenomenal take on the immigrant experience. Tears are inevitable with how they deal with difficulties, but so is hope.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Andrew McCarthy, Chao Li Chi, Christopher Rich, Diane Baker, Fen Tian, France Nuyen, Irene Ng, Kiều Chinh, Lauren Tom, Lisa Lu, Michael Paul Chan, Ming-Na Wen, Philip Moon, Rosalind Chao, Russell Wong, Tamlyn Tomita, Tsai Chin, Victor Wong, Vivian Wu, Yu Feihong

Director: Wayne Wang

Rating: R

There is some dissonance here. A heavy coming of age backstory serves as the foundation to an otherwise straightforward, even feel-good plot involving fighting and protecting kaiju. The film doesn’t do the best job merging the shiny animations and cute story beats with the threat of the kaiju and the weight of the atmosphere set early on. Individually, however, each side is enjoyable, with the strained father-son relationship in particular being a worthwhile endeavor and full of honesty. But all things considered, there isn’t a whole lot of tension here, even for a film intended for younger audiences, making its 2-hour runtime unnecessarily long given everything it lacks.

Genre: Action, Animation, Family, Science Fiction

Actor: Artt Butler, Bret Marnell, Brittany Ishibashi, Christopher Sean, François Chau, Frank Buckley, Gedde Watanabe, Jonathan Groff, Julia Harriman, Julia Kato, Keone Young, Lee Shorten, Mayumi Yoshida, Paul Nakauchi, Rob Fukuzaki, Tamlyn Tomita, Vic Chao

Director: Shannon Tindle

Rating: PG