Last watched December 2016
A woman is spotted jumping off a bridge and her parents know it is their daughter. She survives the fall but there are so many questions left unexplained — How can she see again? What are these marks on her body? Where has she been for the past seven years? She calls for volunteers to hear her story and help her with a very special mission.
The OA is a show not unlike Lost in that with every question it answers, it triggers an avalanche of more questions. It straddles that divide of surrealism and realism in very believable ways. It’s got fairly good politics as it cast an asian trans boy as an asian trans boy and it’s kind of beautiful how everyone is chill about him being trans apart from his father. There’s also a really compelling older female character who is just this sort of lonely and sad figure. It just sucks that there’s this gross structural ‘not all men’ narrative around one of the boys (who is just a horrible person) that basically implies this deeply troubled young man only needed to be loved (by a maternal figure and by a girlfriend). Basically: women can fix him! Gross. All in all though it didn’t take away from the core of the story. Also there is this deity-like figure whose dress and name felt casually racist, though it might just be alluding to something I don’t know about? Not sure.
If you intend to watch it, let me assure you of two things: it’s likely that you will get sucked in and have to marathon it and the ambiguous ending will baffle you (perhaps not in a good way). I found it to be pretty compelling even with the most mundane reading of the film.
Genre: drama, magic realism
Pros: woman lead, women writers, older female character
Cons: structural sexism, racism(?)
Would approach with caution if: you struggle with kidnap and imprisonment, depictions of delusions and/or mental illness, being orphaned,death of a babies being sold, gross demonised sex worker narrative, explosively violent and controlling young men, transphobia from parents, images and depictions of self harm
Can be found: Netflix
Accessibility: closed captions 🙂 🙂