Courtesy of Prime Video - Amazon MGM Studios
When a series featuring Nicole Kidman is released, it's bound to be a success. Following the incredible hits Big Little Lies, The Undoing, and Nine Perfect Strangers, the Australian actress returns to the small screen in Expats, created by Lulu Wang. The mini-series, available on Prime Video from January 26, focuses on the lives of three American expatriates in Hong Kong who are connected by a tragedy. Gripping.
The Golden Bubble Bursts
It all begins at the birthday party of Clarke (Brian Tee), a wealthy American businessman who has migrated to Hong Kong for work, bringing along his wife Margaret (Nicole Kidman) and children to live in a golden bubble filled with wealth, social events, luxurious apartments, and employees at their service. Despite this seemingly happy event, a shadow looms over this seemingly perfect family.
Why is Margaret depressed on that night? What happened that made her want to rent an apartment to be alone, away from her husband and two children? As for her friend Hilary Starr (Sarayu Blue), also the wife of a wealthy expat, they no longer speak. Not to mention the presence of Mercy (Ji-young Yoo), a young American-Korean who came to China after her studies, disrupting the lives of these two women. The reason behind these tensions? The disappearance of Gus, Clarke and Margaret's youngest son.
This tragedy is at the heart of Expats, a series adapted from the successful book The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee. However, the drama becomes a pretext to portray these three broken women. Regardless of one's wealth, another's poverty, their skin color, or education, each must endure the terrible consequences. We passionately follow the lives of these women as they try to rebuild despite the guilt and grief that consume them.
A Winning Female Trio
Dazzling, Nicole Kidman grips the audience in her role as a mother struggling to recover from the unthinkable, taking us into her grief without succumbing to pathos. But she is not the only star of this series. Facing her, Sarayu Blue, a familiar face on the small screen in the United States (Never Have I Ever), embraces her character Hillary, who tries to regain control of her marriage in the face of infidelity, under the guise of a conflict-ridden relationship with her parents and questioning her desire for motherhood. This series dares to show both the immeasurable grief of a mother and a woman who believes it's better not to have children, without judging either character for their choices and actions.
Finally, Ji-young Yoo (The Sky Is Everywhere), a rising star in Hollywood cinema, completes this radiant trio: inscrutable and perplexing, she is undoubtedly the most intriguing character in the story. Is she hungry for wealth, or is she simply searching for her place in this world? The 24-year-old actress skillfully leads us through her turmoil.
Significant Supporting Roles
While the series relies on its three strong women, other destinies are only briefly touched upon. Among them: a wealthy friend of Hillary planning to leave her husband, Mercy's only and best friend, and especially the housemaids who often make appearances. Unfortunately, the series does not provide answers about these secondary characters who deserved more spotlight. It would have been fascinating to explore these employees—all women—serving as caregivers, cooks, and housekeepers, becoming, for some, mothers to the children they care for and substitute mothers for their employers.
Central characters in the series, they are the counterbalance to the wealthy expats: coming from other Asian countries, penniless, hoping for better-paying jobs. Leaving behind their families and children, they sacrifice their lives to be with a new "family." The entire ensemble of these women is worth exploring in this series that will mark the beginning of the year.
Expats, one episode available every Friday on Prime Video starting January 26.