An honest review of “Tigertail” from a daughter of Asian immigrants

How Alan Yang’s Netflix film landed its spot as my favorite film of 2020

It’s rare to come across films that perfectly depict parts of your life in ways you never thought would be seen in mainstream media. Thankfully, I can now count on Alan Yang’s storytelling in Tigertail to educate others on the journey my family, and so many others, faced in carving out better lives for the generations that follow.

Screen grab from Tigertail (2020)

Summary

Inspired by the story of Yang’s own father, Tigertail tells the personal story of a man named Pin-Jiu who leaves Taiwan to carve a life for himself in America. The film starts off by depicting scenes from his early childhood in the grassy countryside, and then proceeds to shift between scenes in 1950’s Taiwan and present-day America. While most of the protagonist’s early life involves his mother and a former lover, most of his existence in America revolves around a wife from an arranged marriage and a daughter from that relationship.

Cinematography

Screen grab from Tigertail (2020)
Screen grab from Tigertail (2020)
Screen grab from Tigertail (2020)
Screen grab from Tigertail (2020)

In all,

While I do believe the film could’ve built more momentum from some of the underlying themes it presented, it’s hard to neglect how Yang’s storytelling touched a soft place in my heart with the striking similarities I can mirror from Tigertail in my own life. I mean, Yang uncannily nailed down my father’s love for tea and even managed to name the character the daughter breaks up with in the movie after my ex-boyfriend. The details are there.

Product designer at MongoDB (150K+ views). Prev. Microsoft, Apple, DoorDash, BuzzFeed, Wish, & Frog Design. Tweets found at www.twitter.com/michelle__chiu

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