brat pitt’s review published on Letterboxd :
not gonna lie, seeing all these white actors play korean people really rubbed me the wrong way. i have no idea as to why they didn’t just cut the neo seoul parts that feature several prominent white actors (jim sturgess, hugo weaving, and my husband hugh grant) in elaborate yellowface. the film is already 3 hours long; why not just scrap that section so as not to go to the trouble of unnecessarily putting white people in the make up chair for 2 hours each day? or, since that section does obviously tie into the others, why not just ... i don’t know ... hire asian actors? putting slanted eyes and black hair on a white person does not make them believable as an asian person — it just alienates and unsettles the asian audience.
i get that cloud atlas’s main point is how everyone around the world is connected, and i get that the filmmakers are attempting to transcend race and gender (further demonstrated by having an asian woman also play a white woman and a mexican woman), but the ineffective race-bending is a major flaw that prevents this sci-fi epic from reaching true greatness. if we lived in a world where dressing white actors up in black/yellow/redface wasn’t such a pervasive issue in cinematic history, this might not have been such a big deal. but we don’t, and it is.
anyway, i watched this for hugh grant’s birthday and seeing him in yellowface was not exactly how i wanted to celebrate it. but i personally forgive him on the grounds that i’ve been deeply in love with him since i was 11 and also i’m asian so i’m legally allowed to!