Thoughtful Realities: Our Review of ‘After Yang’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 11, 2022
Thoughtful Realities: Our Review of ‘After Yang’

Even on the best of days, relationships are complicated…

Now in theatres, After Yang is a stunningly beautiful mediation on relationships and the unnatural barriers that we put in-between them and don’t even realize it.

When his young daughter’s beloved companion — an android named Yang — malfunctions, Jake (Colin Farrell) searches for a way to repair him. In the process, Jake discovers the life that has been passing in front of him, reconnecting with his wife (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter across a distance he didn’t know was there.

At its science fiction core; After Yang is just a fantastic example of what the genre is capable of in giving us something truly humanistic and ever so slightly out of reach so that we can keeping reaching for the better things inside of ourselves.

From writer/director Kogonada we get a beautiful and honest look at not only how much we rely on technology but how much it disconnects us as a species from one another.

If you haven’t seen Kogonada’s Columbus; run out and find it now and just thanks us later as it is an excellent primer for the fact that this story simply forces nothing.  If there was ever a soulful and thoughtful mystery about the impermanence of life and the relationships we have inside any given existence then this is it.

Shot with a lot of soft light and shadow, we as an audience member get placed very delicately inside the moments that these characters inhabit.  The narrative unfolds with great care and reminds us to appreciate the ‘moments’ in life because we never appreciate how fleeting they are until they are gone.  It all makes for an incredibly soulful and alive experience because it isn’t hitting us over the head with these heavy topics; it just reminds us of how we deal with these things like grief, relationships as the world keeps turning along.

We can’t remember the last time we had a film experience that felt like a warm hug while dealing with loss and emotional distance that happens during our lives.   So much of this gets encapsulated in a magnificent performance from Colin Farrell.

Since he has shown up in his fair share of forgettable roles its way too easy to forget that Colin Farrell is not only one of the biggest stars on the planet but he’s also one hell of an actor.  Here as Jake we see a delicate soul who is trying to hold his family together through the existence of Yang only to realize and eventually truly understand that Yang had an existence of his own and in mourning him they appreciate him for who he was rather than just being a possession or a ‘thing’.  It’s that shared experience that bonds his family (which as worst starting to drift apart) back together.

He’s a quiet rock throughout this emotional journey and it’s one of his best performances in years, while Jodie Turner-Smith is fantastic opposite him as the matriarch of this family.  Justin H. Min is quite good in the title role as we slowly revisit and get to see the characters humanity shine through particularly in scenes he shared with young Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja as Mika while Clifton Collins Jr and Haley Lu Richardson round out the ensemble.

Ultimately, After Yang is perfect to be experienced on the big screen as it demands patience but rewards you like a genuine piece of art should as it’ll stay with you long after the credits roll.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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