Year of the Fish

Year of the Fish Image
Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

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  • Summary: A young hopeful girl named Ye Xian travels alone to New York City to try to make some money for her ailing father back home in China. She falls into the clutches of Mrs. Su, who runs a massage parlor in the heart of Chinatown. But Ye Xian refuses to do the requisite sex work for the clients,A young hopeful girl named Ye Xian travels alone to New York City to try to make some money for her ailing father back home in China. She falls into the clutches of Mrs. Su, who runs a massage parlor in the heart of Chinatown. But Ye Xian refuses to do the requisite sex work for the clients, so she is made into a menial servant who must do all the laundry, cleaning, shopping and cooking – a Cinderella. However, she finds solace in a magical fish given to her by the strange hunchback Auntie Yaga and in her fleeting, tender encounters with Johnny, a local jazz musician. With a crescendo that takes place at the height of the Chinese New Year – complete with lion dancers, firecrackers, and an enormous banquet in a palatial Chinatown restaurant – Year of the Fish spins the conventions of the traditional fairy tale in ways that are consistently surprising and engaging. (Gigantic Pictures) Collapse

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. 75
    The film's unusual look lends a magical feeling.
  2. 70
    A sweetly engaging effort that manages a fair amount of charm and innocence in spite of the rather seedy surroundings.
  3. Packs more sadness than the familiar fairy tale but offers its own fantastical delights. Ye Xian's party dress, made of teardrops, suits her -- and her story -- perfectly.
  4. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    60
    Kaplan keeps the story breezy and brisk, and provides his down-to-earthily modern fairy tale with an appropriately other-worldly visual style.
  5. David Kaplan's sweet, if superficial, fairy tale won't change the world, but it makes nice use of its setting (Chinatown) and visual style (rotoscope animation).
  6. Has a certain weird charm, but it's too seamy for children and too simplistic played for adults.
  7. 20
    Year of the Fish is the kind of really bad movie it takes a lot of misplaced conviction to make.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. JerryM
    Apr 8, 2009
    10
    Awesome. Made me cry.
  2. magnesium
    Mar 27, 2009
    2
    Uggh. While it's nice to have an Asian-centric film in American cinema, this film is so chock-full of stereotypes that it was almost too Uggh. While it's nice to have an Asian-centric film in American cinema, this film is so chock-full of stereotypes that it was almost too difficult to finish watching. As a Chinese-American myself, I had the feeling that the movie was made by those who did not make an effort to really get into the emotional underbelly of the immigrant experience. Also, why choose a sex parlor as a backdrop? I'm sorry if I'm unduly offended, but exactly how many Chinese immigrants these days actually do go into the sex trade? Does this play into the some sort of Western fantasy of Asian female eroticism? This movie would have been more effective if the director chose a wittier, lighter, and less heavy-handed approach. I'm sorry, but not all movies about Asian females have to rehash the same (evil) mother - repressed daughter emotional pathos of The Joy Luck Club (which incidentally made for a terrible one-dimensional movie). Although conceptually interesting , the execution was overly superficial and simplistic. Expand

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