Americanized explores that longing for community, especially when you don’t perfectly fit in with any you identify with.

Director(s) Erica Eng
Screenplay By Erica Eng
Date Released 10/1/2021
Where Can You Watch? Film Festival (Urban World)
Genre(s) Drama, Young Adult, Sports
Duration 17 Minutes
Rating Not Rated

Film Summary

Eng is stuck between two worlds. She is Asian American who loves basketball, yet whether it is her school’s Asian community or the Black girls on the basketball team she is on, she can never get comfortable.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: There is minor violence in the form of a 2-second fight.
  • Question: Where are Eng’s parents?
  • Question: What got Eng into basketball?

Cast & Character Guide

Please Note: This is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.

Eng (Terry Hu)

Raised by her grandmother, Eng spends most of her time playing basketball and trying to hang out with this cute boy at school.

Steph (Amber Gaston)

Steph (Amber Gaston) joking around with her teammates
Steph (Amber Gaston)

Steph is one of Eng’s teammates who feels like she just started to earn the respect of the better players. But with Eng’s rise comes Steph feeling like her status is falling.

Review/ Commentary


Erica Eng Knows How To Direct A Sports Scene

Not everyone can make a quality sports movie. Nick Cannon’s She Ball is a prime example. For when you make a sports movie, you need to give the viewer that stress, that adrenaline of being in the game, or that energy from being in the room. Americanized accomplishes that, and when Eng is on the court, your heart starts beating, and you get the duel excitement of being a fan of Eng because she is the lead and because of the tension of the moment.

The Struggle To Find Your People

Eng’s journey represents the conflict many have when you bridge two cultures. Whether it is being bi-racial and not seeming to be enough for the ethnicities that make up who you are or Eng’s case, where you embrace your ethnicity, but what isn’t often highly valued in their culture is something you put on a pedestal. Being stuck between two worlds is hard, and what perhaps is the most difficult thing to watch is how Eng can’t get comfortable.

Yes, she is welcomed to be in the ASU room and hang out with other Asian kids, but as soon as she steps out of line and lacks certain qualities that would validate her status, she is made into an outsider. The same goes for the basketball team and being amongst the Black girls. Eng’s ability to play ball gets her access, but it becomes a problem as soon as she gets too comfortable.

Mind you, just for the sake of clarity, Eng doesn’t say anything racial or tries to use the N-word. Rather, a situation comes about that reminds her she is a guest, at best, or someone there to be exploited, at worst. And to constantly feel you have to be excessively mindful of what you say or do, it’s stressful and to feel like your access to someone’s friendship is conditional? It perhaps is the most painful thing to experience beyond dying or the death of someone you love.


Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

This made me cry. Watching Eng find joy in thinking she found her people and then have someone snatch that over a fairly innocent comment, over and over, it breaks your heart a little bit. Especially since Eng isn’t in desperate need of a friend, but you can see an effort being made to blend in and belong.

Hence the recommendation: Americanized gives you the real deal feeling of being an outsider, and combine that with Erica Eng’s ability to film a tense basketball game, and you get a winner.

Movie Directory

An old school film reel drawn by artist Dean Nelson.

On The Radar


  • Recommended: Some of the best-seen movies we have ever watched and mentioned to friends, family, and strangers as films that need to be seen.
  • Positive (Worth Seeing): Whether you’ll have to go to the movies, download, or stream, movies of this category are worth your time and money with few, if any, qualms from us.
  • Mixed (Divisive): Due to this movie having a few quirks, of which may work for some and for others be a problem, we believe your enjoyment of this movie will depend on your taste.
  • Negative (Acquired Taste): While one or two elements kept us going until the end, unfortunately, we’re of the opinion this film never reached the potential it was marketed to have.

Special Categories/ Tags

  • Indie: By our definition, independent films are films you have to seek to find due to limited availability or lack of a marketing push.
  • Film Festival: Featured in this tag are films and shorts which were discovered thanks to various film festivals, so some of the productions may not have wide availability but still may deserve to be on your watch.
  • Shorts: Be it ten or fifteen minutes, or a half-hour, these quick teases or films get right to the point, often show the potential of filmmakers and the actors who have joined them in their journey.
  • Ending Spoilers: Trying to remember how a film ended, or want a different take on the ending, then check out the "ending spoilers" category. 

Eng (Terry Hu) in the gym locker room
Americanized (2021) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Who Is This For?
Those who love sports dramas, in which the drama isn't someone having to make it big to get out of poverty, but to gain access to the feeling of belonging a team gives you.
Erica Eng Knows How To Direct A Sports Scene
The Struggle To Find Your People

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Avatar of Amari

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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