Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by Watching These Powerful Films and TV Shows
Representation matters. For decades in the entertainment industry, Asian Pacific Americans have been given roles that are often stereotyped. However, there have been more positive representations of Asian Pacific Americans in films and TV shows. There are also groundbreaking movies that are brilliant in quality or have made a big cultural impact. It's inspiring and important to see diverse faces and hear stories that haven't been told before.
With that being said, we’ve gathered a list of powerful and iconic films and TV shows to watch in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
The Joy Luck Club (1993)
In the early 1990s, studio executives insisted that people didn't want to see a film about Chinese-American women. They were wrong. Defying the odds, The Joy Luck Club banked $33 million at the box office with an impressive critical response in 1993.
Saving Face (2004)
Chinese-American Wil and her traditionalist mother are both in a dilemma: They don't want to break cultural taboos. However, the two have secret love lives. Wil is a lesbian, but her unaware mother keeps setting her up with bachelors. Wil's mom also shows up to her apartment unannounced to confess that she's pregnant. Who's the father?
The Namesake (2006)
The Namesake is an adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s best-selling novel of the same name. This film explores the conflicts of being Indian and American as well as the power of a name. It's also about the significance of family, love and identity.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
The letters are out. High-school junior Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor) wrote secret love letters to five boys, but now they're mysteriously in the hands of her major crushes, including her sister's boyfriend.
Fresh Off the Boat (2015–2020)
In 2015, Fresh Off the Boat became the country's first Asian American TV show in more than 20 years. The comedy is based on the life of New York restaurateur and media personality Eddie Huang, who struggled with his identity at home and in society.
Written and directed by actor Justin Chon, Gook boldly revisits the LA riots and offers a Korean-American point of view of racial tensions in 1992. After winning a film festival award, the independent movie was picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films to be released in select theaters. However, Chon isn't in it for the money.
Killing Eve (2018–Present)
What happens when you put an intelligent security operative and a psychopathic assassin together? A refreshing and thrilling TV show. Killing Eve is a fierce game of cat and mouse, featuring two women (Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer) who become obsessed with each other. Who will win this twisted game?
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Based on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel of the same name, Crazy Rich Asians made history as Hollywood's first blockbuster rom-com in 10 years. It took the world by storm, flashing the big screen with lavish mansions, expensive cars and extravagant parties. The game-changing film also caused some ugly crying in theaters.
The Farewell (2019)
This emotional film follows Chinese-American Billi (Awkwafina), who visits her grandmother Nai Nai in China. The problem? Everyone in the family is keeping a painful secret from the beloved matriarch — Nai Nai only has a few weeks left to live. Billi disagrees with the rest of her family, believing her grandmother should know her true fate.
The Killing Fields (1984)
The Killing Fields is based on a true story that follows two journalists, Cambodian-American Dith Pran (Dr. Haing S. Ngor) and Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston). The pair report the unforgettable horrors in Cambodia committed by the Khmer Rouge, a regime that killed two million people in the late ‘70s.