ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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I approached Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe with great trepidation, because I am absolutely desperate for movies to move away from the dominance of white faces and wanted to be able to get fully behind a rom-com that features Asian-American leads. (The first person who says “But Crazy Rich Asians!” gets a face full of chili oil. This a very different kind of movie: that one was Golden Age Hollywood luxury porn; this is way more down to earth. And way more distinctly American. But also because one movie centering Asian and Asian-American people is nowhere near enough.) But I am stubborn enough as a critic — and as a lover of movies — that I cannot give a pass to a film purely because of extrinsic factors such as the diversity of the cast and creators. That’s so important. But the story still has to be damn good.

Joy of joys, Always is a joy. It’s not a box-ticking exercise in diverse filmmaking. I wish I didn’t have to say that. I don’t want to say that and I don’t think that’s even a thing. But some people reading this will think it is. To them I say: Get over your white-ass self. I am allowed to say that because humans don’t come whiter than me, with my Anglo, Celtic, and Scandinavian ethnicity. The world is bigger than us white people. Get used to it, because our blinkeredness is not going to be coddled anymore. Continue reading…

EDITOR’S NOTE: Always Be My Maybe is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for June 7, 2019

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her Women On Film archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).