Tigertail Poster

Tigertail (2020)

IMDB Rayting:   6.4/10
Country: USA
Language: English

In this multi generational drama, a Taiwanese factory worker leaves his homeland to seek opportunity in America, where he struggles to find connection while balancing family and newfound responsibilities.

Director: Alan Yang Writer:

Stars: Tzi Ma, Christine Ko and HongChi Lee

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User Reviews

htmlfreak 12 April 2020

In director Alan Yang's Emmy winning speech for Master of None in 2016, he said that despite there being 17 million Asian-Americans in this country, there was still a lack of representation in television and film. Tigertail is undoubtedly a step towards that direction.

Set over four different time periods across both Taiwan and New York, Tigertail is an immigrant story at heart. When Pin-Jui (played by Tzi Ma) is still a teenager, he reluctantly enters into an arranged marriage as a means to provide money for his ailing mother. He leaves behind his girlfriend and emigrates to New York. After a few years, Pin-Jui and his wife have a daughter of their own, of whom Pin-Jui has a fractured relationship.

From one angle, this immigrant story is formulaic. Parents, with nothing in common, struggle in a foreign land for the sake of their children. But from another angle, Yang shows us nuances and subtleties that demand a deeper inspection. The miniature piano that Pin-Jui scavenges for his wife but remains unplayed over the years. Pin-Jui repeatedly opening and closing the metal gate to his small grocery store through the seasons, showing the passage of time. Pin-Jui's daughter crying in the backseat after being scolded after a piano recital gone wrong.

One nuance that reverberates throughout the film is language. The film features three different languages: English, Mandarin Chinese, and Taiwanese Hokkien. Each language represents a different generation: Pin-Jui's mother exclusively speaks Taiwanese, Pin-Jui primarily speaks Chinese, and Pin-Jui's daughter speaks English. For the entire film, all of the dialogue between Pin-Jui and his daughter is in English. It's not until her father brings her to where he grew up and finally tells her the story of his upbringing: How he gave up his life for another. It's only here, in the final moments of the film where she speaks Chinese for the first time and asks, "What was her name?"

Covering four different time periods in the span of a mere ninety minutes was an ambitious task, and for that reason, the movie feels particularly rushed. Perhaps more attention could have been placed on capturing the relationship between the father and daughter: This has always been a core piece of what it means to be a child of immigrants. Furthermore, the stitching of scenes across different time periods don't always translate well to Pin-Jui's character development as an adult. It's only until the final fifteen minutes of the film do you see this unfold.

Overall, Yang is able to capture the right emotions in his directorial debut and tells a classic story in his own way. The subtleties, reflecting both an Asian-American heritage and relatable familial scenes establish a fulfilling level of depth to the film. True to his own words, you can't help but wonder what Yang will do next.

burritosburritos 20 April 2020

I have beared witness to my Taiwanese family and friends who also left Taiwan in the late 60's and early 70's. The emotional and financial sacrifice to forge a possibly(but not guaranteed) better future for your family in a land of a different tongue and color is tremendous. It takes a special breed of person to take upon this burden. Certainly not the type of entitled brats who so easily criticize the accents of the actors. To me, the spoken Taiwanese, the rice fields, the Taiwanese house courtyards, the nightmarkets, the obligatory piano playing are all a jumbulaya of nostalgia for me. This story rings true to me. Sorry for the rant. I'm hungry now, Wa be ki ja bung.

rogerebertreincarnated 10 April 2020

Finding the perfect movie when you can't go outside is harder than you'd think. Take it from someone who's been locked down in Brooklyn for nearly a month -- most movies will start to blend together into a pleasant, but unremarkable haze.

Tigertail is the exception to that rule.

Its gorgeous cinematography seduces with exotic locales that feel tantalizing close. The dialogue is sharp, biting. Alan Yang (Emmy-award winning writer behind this masterpiece) has transformed the standard Netflix formula of stunning visuals and meh story into a glimpse at the future of movies.

It'll be a long, long time before any New Yorker gets to wildly overpay for a tub of lukewarm buttered popcorn for the privilege of a true cinematic escape in the grand tradition. Until then, crack a cold one and try Tigertail.

alexpitt-345-971699 12 April 2020

I had been hearing some pretty good things about Tigertail, and I was excited to watch it on Netflix. Whilst I don't think that the film is as great as some people are making it out to be, it was still a fairly worthwhile watch.

The main problem with Tigertail, and the thing which stops me from saying it's a great film, is the runtime. Usually, if anything, I'm saying that a film should have been trimmed down to make the pace flow better, but this film clocks in at under ninety minutes without credits, and it wasn't long enough to get invested in a story which spans multiple generations. Because of this, it was difficult to care much about any of the characters, or the stories they were trying to tell.

Thankfully, the film is directed incredibly well, with some powerful performances, and this was enough to keep me locked in. Tigertail also has a great screenplay, with some heartfelt messages throughout.

There were a lot of pieces that should have made for a great film, but it was hard to care about the characters when the story bounced around a lot and barely gave us anything to latch on to before taking us away to another time or place.

Overall, despite the issues I had with the film, there were enough good elements that I can recommend checking it out if the synopsis sounds interesting to you.

SCORE: 65%

sleepyhowie 13 April 2020

If your Asian actors can't be bothered to imitate a Taiwanese accent or you can't hire a dialect coach to train them, at least dub their lines for chrissakes. It was absolutely painful and distracting to watch someone say that they are from central Taiwan in a full-blown Chinese accent.

HorrorWorldandReviews 13 April 2020

Now available on Netflix, this multi-generational drama follows a Taiwanese factory worker who leaves his homeland to seek opportunity in the US, where he struggles to find connection while balancing family and newfound responsibilities.

The two aspects I loved the most about Tigertail were the score (which sounded amazing and perfectly fit the tone) and the non-linear storytelling that kept the story interesting to follow. I, also, liked how they shot part of the movie on film - when the lead character was young - as it gave it more personality. Other than that, I found Tigertail to be a rather by-the-books drama with interesting but, perhaps, underdeveloped commentary on immigration. The movie is quite short and never feels dull or boring, though, so I would recommend it to fans of this kind of dramas.

6/10 or 7/10 (can't decide)

jwu-16273 13 April 2020

A movie about people from Taiwan who came to US after they are in their twenties, however, the cast was picked of actors mostly from mainland China and USA. Watching them speaking mandarin as Taiwanese with strong mainland accent; or speaking perfect native English as an aged Taiwanese is just unreal. The director should simply hire Taiwanese cast to shoot the film.

hmusol 11 April 2020

A touching father daughter relationship at the core of it. A bit of a downer but it redeemed itself with a heartfelt ending

peter07 13 April 2020

I watched this on Netflix, and the premise was very interesting. A man leaves the love of his love in Taiwan for the chance of immigrating to America with his boss's daughter, and he decides to seek the love he left behind as an old man as well as get along with his estranged daughter.

Though the narrative was interesting, well, I felt that the film could've done more with the characters, esp. Yuan, who is played by veteran actress Joan Chen. I think she should've had more screen time given her acting prowess, and perhaps this could've been a limited series. Maybe I'm insisting on what the movie should've been instead of accepting what it was, but by the time it ended, I was sorta left hanging.

Still, this type of tale should be told more often. As the parents of Asian immigrants myself, it struck a chord with me.

akindo-33696 14 April 2020

First of all, I'm really appreciated for the filmmaker's effort and his ambition to describe a story of a Taiwanese immigrant, and I am surprised that this film came to Taiwan trying to depict a full picture to audience. However, as a Taiwanese, especially a Taiwanese from mid area of Taiwan (just exactly like the ex-wife that followed her man to the United States), I need to point out some, or let's say, a lot of ridiculous mistakes that a Taiwanese would feel uneasy when seeing this film.

1. In mid and south part of Taiwan, we use Taiwanese as a family language, not Mandarin. So when I saw the main character replying his mother with Mandarin, it feels awkward. Not to mention that his wife! How come a girl growing up in Wunlin speaks Mandarin with a perfect Beijing accent? It is really insulting for a Taiwanese audience.

2. This is not a story for a traditional Taiwanese. It is a story more suitable for a Wuai-Shen man or mainlander (means people followed KMT government to Taiwan after 1945). My family is a traditional Taiwanese family. My father had never went to pub in his 20s, nor had he lived in such a Mainlander style house.

3. The town Tigertail is in Wunlin. If you ask any Taiwanese from Wunlin, they would never tell you that Wunlin is in mid area in Taiwan. But the director's family moved to the United States many years ago. It is an allowable mistake.

Overall, I am thankful that the director is willing to tell a story of Taiwanese. However, as a Taiwanese studying Taiwanese films, I strongly suggest the director pay much more attention not only on Hou Hsiao-Hsien or Edward Yang, but also those brilliant Taiwanese filmmakers like Hsu Pu-Liao, our comic icon in Taiwan.

makaylagan 11 April 2020

Tiger Tail is a slow, poignant movie. It's a representation of the immigrants from Taiwan to the US around 70s. What they thought America was, how they longed to come to America, yet only to find it is nothing like their imagination. How they worked so hard in the US, and yet lost the ability to communicate well with their family. I like the depiction of the relationship of Angela and her father. The conversations are great. I like the ending.

SnobReviews 24 April 2020

"Tigertail" is one of the better films I've seen lately. A moving yet quiet film that offers viewers a look inside immigrant life. . In this drama, a Taiwanese factory worker leaves his homeland to seek opportunity in America, where he struggles to find connection while balancing family and newfound responsibilities. . I found this film to be more compelling and resonant than 2019's "The Farewell". "Tigertail" had my full attention from the start until the very bittersweet end. You get to see a completely other side of writer/director Alan Yang ("Master Of None") and he leaves filmmaker imprints as he goes along. The performances in this film are great as well; the iconic Tzi Ma ("The Farewell", "Arrival") really gets to show off his acting chops here playing a quiet but struggling man. You feel his pain and conflict throughout. I didn't think I'd enjoy "Tigertail" as much as I did and I think you should definitely stream it on Netflix. . Follow @snobmedia for more reviews!

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