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'Tigertail' Review With Casey

Tigertail.jpg
Courtesy of "Tigertail" movie
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Recently, I watched the drama Tigertail. Growl! But everybody calm down. This film has nothing to do with the documentary miniseries Tiger King currently on Netflix. 

 

Tigertail is a family drama about an aging man revisiting parts of his life growing up in Taiwan, falling in love, and emigrating to New York City in the 1970s with his arranged wife. Told through Mandarin Chinese, English, and Taiwanese, Tigertail is a multi-generational and multi-lingual exploration of family, regret, identity, and loneliness. Written and directed by Asian-American Alan Yang (who has almost exclusively worked in TV comedies until now), this heartfelt yet emotionally reticent story is partly inspired by Yang's own father. Tigertail felt like a reverent patchwork of hopeful memories paired with a solemn present day as a man years to revisit his distant past and connect with his present daughter...he just doesn't know how.

 

But Tigertail is not entirely triumphant. Some parts have actors failing to connect with their dialogue, leaving conversations empty that could have been more emotionally poignant. A few moments in the writing also fall a bit short of beautiful truth and instead feel earnestly prosaic. 

 

It's easy to say Tigertail is not the shiniest jewel in the glass case, but at least it's a valiant and sensitive portrayal of the contemporary Asian-American experience, a film genre that hasn't had much popularity or critical acclaim until 2018 with Crazy Rich Asians. That disappointing romantic comedy thankfully opened the door for much better contemporary Asian-centered films The Farewell (2019) and Parasite (2019). Like these incisive films have done, maybe Tigertail will also help subtitles not be so unpopular now.Recently, I watched the drama Tigertail. Growl! But everybody calm down. This film has nothing to do with the documentary miniseries Tiger King currently on Netflix. 

 

Tigertail is a family drama about an aging man revisiting parts of his life growing up in Taiwan, falling in love, and emigrating to New York City in the 1970s with his arranged wife. Told through Mandarin Chinese, English, and Taiwanese, Tigertail is a multi-generational and multi-lingual exploration of family, regret, identity, and loneliness. Written and directed by Asian-American Alan Yang (who has almost exclusively worked in TV comedies until now), this heartfelt yet emotionally reticent story is partly inspired by Yang's own father. Tigertail felt like a reverent patchwork of hopeful memories paired with a solemn present day as a man years to revisit his distant past and connect with his present daughter...he just doesn't know how.

 

But Tigertail is not entirely triumphant. Some parts have actors failing to connect with their dialogue, leaving conversations empty that could have been more emotionally poignant. A few moments in the writing also fall a bit short of beautiful truth and instead feel earnestly prosaic. 

 

It's easy to say Tigertail is not the shiniest jewel in the glass case, but at least it's a valiant and sensitive portrayal of the contemporary Asian-American experience, a film genre that hasn't had much popularity or critical acclaim until 2018 with Crazy Rich Asians. That disappointing romantic comedy thankfully opened the door for much better contemporary Asian-centered films The Farewell (2019) and Parasite (2019). Like these incisive films have done, maybe Tigertail will also help subtitles not be so unpopular now.

Casey T. Allen is a native of Utah who graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor's degree in English in 2007. He has worked in many capacities throughout USU campus and enjoys his time at UPR to continually exercise his writing.