As the year starts to come to an end with Star Wars and Oscar contender season not too far, here’s 5 POC movies to be thankful for:
5. Always Be My Maybe
— Netflix US (@netflix) May 28, 2019
An Asian-American movie made by and starring Asian-Americans. What a time to be alive. This Netflix rom-com starred the furiously funny Ali Wong and underrated sitcom dad Randall Park. It featured the One cameo you needed to see this year in Keanu Reeves.
The movie was funny and affirming. It offered further evidence that there’s an audience who wants to see people that look like them on screen. Netflix reported that 32 million households have streamed the movie in its first 4 weeks of release. Keep them coming.
4. The Farewell
— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) November 21, 2019
While the streaming war has only amplified in the past year, director Lulu Wang’s The Farewell made waves in its indie run. Wang reportedly turned down $15 million dollars from Netflix in order for her film to have a theatrical run in a crowded summer box office. The result? The film’s made over $19 million and is making its way through the award circuit with a chance at the Oscars.
Awkwafina proved her acting chops in the film, Zhao Shuzhen became everyone’s favorite grandma, and Wang has made name for herself as a director to be watched. The Farewell has proved to be quite the introduction to all the talent involved.
This movie hits on every level. The cast is revelatory. The camerawork is revolutionary. The editing is fearless. The music – oh, the music – is at once domineering and deeply informative.
Sound and color brought together to make actual magic.
— Jackson Lanzing writes weird. (@JacksonLanzing) November 17, 2019
Waves stars the surging Sterling K. Brown alongside relative newcomers Kelvin Harrison Jr., Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie, and Renée Elise Goldsberry. While the film has just started its limited theatrical run, it’s already making (forgive me) waves with critics and moviegoers alike. So much so that it’s already a making a buzz for the Oscars.
The film follows an African-American family who suffers an immense tragedy and tries to heal. It’s a movie that seems devoid of stereotypes and instead chooses to navigate the complications of love and loss that everyone regardless of background can relate to.
#Parasite is a cinematic revelation, and a poignant, thought-provoking stroke of genius. This masterpiece is equally as hilarious & emotional, as it is haunting & INSANELY disturbing. We’ve never seen anything like it & doubt we’ll see anything like it again. We give it a 10/10. pic.twitter.com/N3OwJOh3n6
— DR Movie News 📽 (@DRMovieNews1) November 19, 2019
A South Korean movie is being touted as the best movie of the year, not by South Koreans, but by American film critics. Two words. Not planned. Parasite is directed by the masterful Bong Joon-ho and stars the prolific Song Kang-ho alongside Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik and Park So-dam. The film leads us through a twisty plot to reveal numerous insights into poverty and classism in South Korea, but most importantly, it’s wicked fun.
The film has been lauded by the rest of the world as well. It’s evidenced by the awarding of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival and by its global box office, which sits at $121 million. With all the acclaim, the Oscars may finally give South Korea its first ever Best Foreign Film nomination. Here’s hoping that having no plan continues to pay dividends.
“US” is currently the ONLY MOVIE in the Top 10 grossing films 2019 that’s an original property and not a sequel to anything.
— Kimberley Elizabeth 🦇 (@kimmikillzombie) November 23, 2019
Alfred Hitchcock has reincarnated in the form of Jordan Peele. The former sketch comedian has continued to elevate his craft along with our expectations with his second feature, Us. Peele’s Get Out was released back in early 2017 and was so riveting that it made its way to the Oscars in 2018. With a stellar cast, including Lupita Nyong’o’s unsettling performance, Us should be no different.
The film is a reflective piece about America in its current political climate and how our worst enemies tend to look like us. Many have lamented it doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor, and Peele’s problem is that he’s set the bar too high for himself. If Peele’s films are indeed tethered, then we may find his shadow getting the best of him this awards season.
Any other films starring POC that you loved as the year comes to a close? Let us know on Twitter!
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Written in VA. An MFA graduate in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.