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American Girl (2021)American Girl (2021)

American Girl (2021)

Mother and daughter hash it out in this poignant cross-cultural film

Drama, Family

7.0

movie

Taiwan

English, Mandarin

Character-driven, Discussion-sparking, Emotional

2021

Female director, Feng-I Fiona Roan

Blaire Chang, Caitlin Fang, Hsia Yu-chiao

101 min

Synopsis

Uprooted from Los Angeles after her mother is stricken with breast cancer, thirteen year old Fen struggles to adjust to life in Taipei. As Fen navigates her way through school and reconnects with her long-separated father, her turbulent bond with her mother worsens. Fen drifts further away from her mother through a series of rebellious acts before her younger sister is misdiagnosed with SARS, pushing Fen and her mother towards a heated, long-gestating confrontation.

Our Take

7.0
Renee Cuisia

American Girl follows 13-year-old Fen as she returns to Taiwan from the US and tries to make sense of a culture that’s supposedly her own. In addition to her awkward but relatable attempts to understand identity and adolescence, Fen also struggles to connect with her mother Lily, whose own problems further push her away from her teenage daughter. If you’ve seen Lady Bird, you may recognize a bit of Christine and Marion in Fen and Lily as they throw themselves into an endless tug-of-war of emotions. Their fights are genuinely frustrating, but only because of how true-to-life they are.

As painful as it sometimes is to see them clash, it’s their love-hate dynamic that charges much of the film’s emotional energy and makes it ultimately irresistible to watch. 

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