Books Adaptations, Chinese Cinderella, Dark, Fairy Tale, Indie Film, Movies, Romantic, Underrated, Ye Xian

Year of the Fish (2007): Movie Review

I’ve waited years to see Year of the Fish ever since I saw the movie trailer on YouTube a couple years back. All these years, I have searched and searched for the movie and I almost lost all hope, until I found out that it was added to Netflix. The movie is based on the Chinese version of Cinderella (Ye Xian). The movie is shot in rotoscope animation, though some people may have a problem with the animation, I thought it made the film unique and charming. The protagonist Ye Xian is a Chinese immigrant who arrives in Chinatown in New York. Believing that she is going to work in a hair salon, she feels confident about saving money for her sick father in China. The owner of the so called hair salon is Madam Su, her father’s cousin, who actually runs a private massage parlor that satisfies men’s needs. Innocent Ye Xian signs a contract with Madam Su in order to pay off her debts since her boss paid for her trip to America. As long as Ye Xian did what she is told, her boss provided her shelter and work. Ye Xian does not realize that she would have to perform sexual acts on the male customers as part of her job. Ye Xian is unable to do the tasks that Madam Su demands of her, therefore, Madam Su punishes Ye Xian severely by making her do all the housework chores. Ye Xian constantly cries because her life is miserable, but proves herself to be a hard worker when it comes to doing her job, although she is constantly mistreated by Madam Su and her rival Hong Ji. There’s also Johnny Pan, a musician who tries to find his own happiness in Chinatown and has problems with his cheating girlfriend. Fate brings Ye Xian and Johnny together when they encounter each other in the streets of Chinatown. Most people already know how Cinderella ends, so I won’t spoil the movie too much. This film was dark, for example, the fairy godmother is a blind witch named Auntie Yaga who many fear, but she shows her kindness to Ye Xian. Secondly, I loved Johnny Pan. I loved the fact that he was not a prince nor a rich musician because it would have made the film cheesy. Johnny is a honest hardworking man who also has his share of bad luck in the city. I definitely recommend this film because it was not your typical Cinderella story. I really loved it and I really enjoyed the soundtrack. I would watch this movie again and it is now one of my favorites. My rating for Year of the Fish is a five out of five. 😀

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