Expats is one of the latest projects to hit Amazon Prime Video. Starring Nicole Kidman in a primary role, the Lulu Wang-directed series has dropped two episodes with promises of weekly episodes.
Nicole Kidman in a still from Expats
Expats dropped on Amazon Prime Video on January 26, 2024, and has been doing special rounds on the internet. The show’s first two episodes have already garnered quite a following, which has existed since Janice Y.K. Lee’s bestselling novel The Expatriates. The series adaptation of the novel comprises 6 episodes and assures weekly releases post-premiere. And here are 5 reasons why you should give this show a try.
Expats has a powerful leading trio, comprising Nicole Kidman’s Margaret, Sarayu Blue’s Hilary, and Ji Young Yoo’s Mercy. All three are talented and intelligent but have been held back from achieving their true potential for various reasons. They have experienced highs in life, some more than others. But when they hit the nadir of their lives, all illusion shatters and the unpleasant but real face of truth emerges. That is what Expats explores in a layered, slow-burn drama.
Expats has many talented actors in important roles, with the likes of Brian Tee and Flora Chan, but the three leading ladies, Kidman, Blue, and Yoo, steal the show. Their portrayal of their respective characters is incredible and moving, be it as dislocated and disconnected, rich expatriate trophy wives or struggling and hustling smart youth with a troubled past and a top-notch marksheet.
Expats also shows a nuanced view of the homesickness and nostalgia that keep pricking expatriates every now and then. But they cause maximum damage when the individual’s emotional barriers are vulnerable, resulting in anything from traumatic recalls to imposter syndrome. It is mainly when life comes hard at us that we yearn for the familiarity and comfort of home, whichever home that might be.
The series offers a toned discourse on the elements of classism, privilege, and guilt without becoming overbearing or preachy. Expats subtly traces these elements via various little moments of interaction among the ‘help’, as well as with their bosses, till the game-changing episode 5. As for privilege, Hilary and Margaret’s characters are its epitome, while Mercy struggles to rub shoulders with them and make it.
Expats makes a poignant tapestry from the various shades of grief by threading together a moving and breathing story of the interactions between three women from different layers of society, privilege, and position. But it does not only stick to it. The show also packs in a lot of authentic footage of night markets and life on the Hong Kong streets in flimsy sandals and flip-flops, not just stilettos and crocs. And that is why it is the perfect ode to grief. Lulu Wang creates stunning parallels between the bustling nightlife frenzy and the stilling, quivering grief that bubbles up but never fully explodes.