Lee’s review published on Letterboxd:
I am all for bringing asian actors like Michelle Yeoh and Key Huy Quran into the limelight and exposing traditional Chinese themes on family values to western audiences, but not in this kind of light. I truly do not believe neither Daniel Kwan who is Taiwanese or Daniel Scheinert have any idea about Asian American first generation immigrant family dynamics, nor provide anything of insight or nuance. The American Asian immigrant youth in America of today have become so progressive and radicalized in their dependence from their culture/parents, that they are so far removed from their own culture, that they only perceive themselves through the white gaze. It’s not an awful movie by any means, and is actually a very well-produced and impressive, bold film, it’s just that I think that what the Daniel’s philosophy of how the world works is naive and privileged and it’s dangerous with such a big mainstream A24 movie like this, you present the anxieties and hardships of young immigrants and millennials in America to such a big audience, and your coping mechanism and ideas of combatting these hardships boil down to “just be a rock, fuck all the hardships, just live in the moment.” I just don’t feel anything for this movie, none of the conflict feels genuine, it feels like it’s all just for shits and giggles. At the end of the film the Wangs are exactly where they were at the beginning of the film except this time they are happier and avoid tax evasion for another week? It just all feels exhausting, and the stereotypical Asian tropes come off as flat offensive. The whole Chinese tiger mom dynamic with the gay daughter trope and impervious grandfather just feels so typical and overused. This film is enamored by its edgy take on nihilism, and for a film that is so self-serious, it’s hard to take it serious at all.