Expats 2024 tv series review

Lulu Wang, known for her insight into family dynamics, continues her exploration in the Amazon drama “Expats,” an adaptation of Janice Y.K. Lee’s novel “The Expatriates.” Premiering on Jan. 26, the series expands the narrative to encompass three American women living in Hong Kong, whose lives become intertwined by tragedy. Wang, who directed every episode and wrote two, expertly weaves a nuanced sense of connectedness among the characters and their relationship with the politically precarious urban island they’ve chosen to inhabit.

Nicole Kidman plays Margaret Woo, a wealthy mother of three, initially positioned as the show’s protagonist. Margaret grapples with the disappearance of her youngest child, Gus, a year ago. Obsessed with finding him, she becomes consumed by anger, desperation, and guilt, straining her relationship with her family. As she plans a 50th birthday party for her husband, Clarke, the emotional distance between them becomes apparent.

Hilary Starr, played by Sarayu Blue, is another American expatriate facing her own challenges. An assertive entrepreneur, Hilary is reevaluating her marriage to David, a recovering alcoholic. The complex dynamics between Hilary and Margaret unfold as the narrative delves into their shared history.

Ji-young Yoo portrays Mercy, a Korean American struggling in the gig economy. While initially a background character, Mercy’s poignant monologue positions her as the emotional core of the series. The show becomes a search for answers to Mercy’s questions about forgiveness and moving on after causing tragedies.

Wang’s approach to “Expats” feels literary, exploring rich ideas, observations, and resonances beyond conventional plotlines. The relationships between women living in close proximity are depicted with a mix of affection and tension. The series also addresses the exploitation of live-in help from the perspective of Filipino women, providing depth to the narrative.

Set against the backdrop of the 2014 Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, the series expands its focus to include local characters and their struggles. The penultimate episode skillfully slows the pace, illustrating the overlap between personal problems and societal issues.

While some viewers may find the world-building tedious, Wang’s detailed portraiture captures the essence of family, the impact of connections, and the broader social world. “Expats” is a series worth savoring, with Wang standing out as a humanist creator engaged in exploring the complexities of relationships and society.

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By acinetv