Go Back to China (2019) - USA / China
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
This is another lovely little film from Director Emily Ting, following up well from “Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong”. If Emily Ting’s feature debut is a “love letter” to Hong Kong, then “Go Back to China” is a “fish out of water” personal growth story to tell. It is a film about family, relationships with people, growing up and finding that path and journey. It is simple yet entertaining comedy that breezes by its duration. The smartly interweaves the clashes of Chinese and American cultures as well as differing family values and working culture. It’s a light hearted film that works its emotions as the film progresses.
Anna Akana of YouTube fame takes a leading role inspired by the real life Emily Ting. She is clearly spoiled with money and when her life comes crashing down as she is forced to go back to China to work for her dad’s business/factory in Shenzhen. Akana does well in a character that is easy to dislike as she grows up through the process. Hong Kong veteran actor Richard Ng is probably the best thing in the movie as the strict traditional boss with a heart and playboy father. Lynn Chen does well in a sizeable role as the older half sibling struggling to deal with her own personal issues and wanting out of China. Meanwhile the much missed Kelly Hu is wasted in a small role as Akana’s mother. Stay tune for some eye catching indie industry cameos with Joe Fiorello and Ines Laimins as buyers.
All in all, “Go Back to China” is a small film with a well meaning personal message. Nothing extraordinary will happen, but it’s the smaller bits and parts that makes the film an enjoyable experience. As a filmmaker Emily Ting is ready for a bigger film and cast with plenty of potential shown in her two feature length films to date. Stay tune for her next one.
I rated it 7.5/10