Expats

Expats

Lulu Wang returns to screen in this Hong Kong-set intersection of personal loss and American privilege

7.3

TV Show

United States of America
English, Tagalog
Drama
2024
Brian Tee, Jack Huston, Ji-young Yoo

TLDR

Lulu Wang, you’ve done it again.

What it's about

A tragic loss causes the lives of three American expatriates to intersect in Hong Kong.

The take

With immigration being a vastly different experience across race, gender, and origin country, it can be easy to dismiss Amazon Prime’s Expats as just another melodrama about the rich, especially with the controversies surrounding its production. There’s some truth to this– two of the three leads live in glamorous, high-rise apartments bigger and more expensive than the standard Hong Kong shoe-box– but the show is much more than that. It grapples with the identity that must be remade for the move. It empathizes with the unresolved loss that haunts the day-to-day life of both mother and caretaker. And on top of that, Lulu Wang portrays how this grief-stained lens can still be short-sighted, when directed to those in the margins. Expats is a revelation with its slow and steady multi-sided portraiture.

What stands out

The cast. Character studies are stories that live and die by its performances– Expats is no exception. Nicole Kidman and Sarayu Blue do excellently as relatable, but clearly privileged Americans, but it’s Ji-young Yoo as Mercy dealing with her guilt over her carelessness that’s the most striking.

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