Americanized explores that longing for community, especially when you don’t perfectly fit in with any you identify with.
|Screenplay By||Erica Eng|
|Where Can You Watch?||Film Festival (Urban World)|
|Genre(s)||Drama, Young Adult, Sports|
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 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.
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.
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.
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