An excerpt from my script review for After Yang which will be available 05/09/22:
3.) Quality of Characters
Here is where we’re going to focus most of our attention.
What this script did really well was present conflict potential inside the character connections.
We’re introduced to Mika, a Chinese-born girl adopted by Americans Jake and Kyra.
Jake and Kyra just happen to be of different ethnicities as well.
Outside of this is the Chinese “techno-sapien” Jake and Kyra purchased to both take care of Mika and provide background on her ancestral heritage.
With me so far? There’s decent enough issues to exploit there, but the script goes a step farther.
Jake is running a failed tea shop that nets a loss each month.
Kyra is in charge of a successful agriculture project, and presumably the breadwinner.
Naturally arguments follow, primarily when Jake is too busy to come home and care for Mika, when Kyra is entering the busy time of the project she’s working towards.
She’s making the money. He isn’t. Therefore he should be there for Mika.
Then we go to Yang…
Admittedly, by the characters, he’s more Chinese trivia bot than cultural heritage liaison, and they rely too much on him to raise Mika.
All of this is in the background, but once Yang dies and Jake discovers his memories, Yang is flushed out in almost a Pinocchio style story, leaving us wonder if he was developing emotions inside (or perhaps outside) of his programming.
Jake is for viewing Yang’s memories, in hopes of finding a “cure” to his shutdown, while Kyra is against arguing Yang’s privacy should be respected and his memories left alone.
Ultimately they both view them, and we see heartfelt scenes with each…
Jake’s is a bit sad, where he’s teaching Yang about tea, and forgets that Yang isn’t his “real” son. Kyra’s is where she witnesses what Yang considers beautiful with his moth collection and they discuss his being.
To really tug the heartstrings, Jake discovers the link from Aida to Yang’s original family, where he discovers (as do we) that Yang witnessed his first family grow old and die, caring for them along the way. This then begs the question did he almost choose to shut down for good, not wanting to relive that experience again?
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