To help with raising their adopted daughter, Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja), Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kira (Jodie Turner-Smith) buy an almost new but refurbished techno-sapien called Yang (Justin H. Min). Yang is like an older brother to Mika. He’s always there to help her, especially with maintaining links to her cultural heritage.
One day, Yang suddenly stops and can’t be restarted. Jake does everything he can to bring Yang back to life, but when they discover a special chip believed to be spyware, they realise they need expert help. Slowly, Jake pieces together Yang’s story and finds that he had a life beyond his household. Yang had a friend named Ada (Hayley Lu Richardson) and he lived other lives, long before he became Mika’s brother.
Jake, Kira and Mika begin to realise that Yang isn’t coming back and that they need to reconnect with each other and go on with their lives without him. At the same time, they realise that Yang doesn’t belong to them alone and that his story needs to be shared.
Loss of a loved one; grief; interracial adoption; prejudice; the perils of spyware
After Yang has some violence. For example, Mika is sent home from school for punching another child and screaming at him.
After Yang has some sexual references. For example, Jake asks Ada if ‘she and Yang were ...’, implying that they might have been romantically involved. Ada says, ‘We never really talked about us in that way’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There’s no use of substances in After Yang.
Nudity and sexual activity
After Yang has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Several scenes show Jake’s bare chest.
- Kira and Jake talk while Kira is getting undressed. Much of the conversation happens while she’s just wearing her bra, but nothing below her torso is shown.
Although no brands are featured in After Yang, there’s a scene involving Ramen noodles. A couple of scenes also focus on the art of drinking of tea.
After Yang has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
After Yang is a slow-paced, quiet movie. It repeats some scenes for poignancy and holds still on certain images. Although it offers an unusual take on life, loss and grief, this movie is unlikely to interest younger viewers and is best suited to older, mature audiences.
These are the main messages from After Yang:
- ‘There is not something without nothing’.
- Families come in all shapes and sizes.
- The end can also be the beginning.
Values in After Yang that you could reinforce with your children include persistence, family, cooperation, integrity and love.
After Yang could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- mean or unkind behaviour towards people because of their racial background or because they don’t look like the rest of their family
- racial and other stereotypes and how they contribute to discrimination
- the challenges that interracial families face
- poor communication and lack of honesty with loved ones
- government and corporate use of spyware.