Lulu Wang and Nicole Kidman join forces in a poignant examination of grief, as expats share their reviews.

Unveiling the Intricacies of Expats: A Riveting Tale of Tragedy, Guilt, and Identity


In the realm of gripping narratives, “Expats” emerges as a six-episode series that transcends conventional storytelling. Created by the acclaimed Lulu Wang, known for her work on “The Farewell,” Expats delves into a tapestry of interconnected lives within the expatriate community in Hong Kong. At its core, the series explores the aftermath of a series of unfortunate events, forever altering the trajectories of both victims and those responsible.

Mercy’s Unveiling Narration

The narrative unfolds through the lens of Mercy, portrayed by the talented Ji-young Yoo, who shares the heart-wrenching stories with a stark and captivating simplicity. Mercy hints at her own involvement in an undisclosed tragedy, raising the poignant question of whether individuals like her can ever find forgiveness. This question serves as a thematic anchor, intricately woven into the broader exploration of motherhood, marriage, and the sense of belonging.

exapts revies
exapts review

The Expats Tapestry

Based on Janice Y.K. Lee’s novel, “The Expatriates,” the series primarily centers around three American women residing in Hong Kong. Margaret (Nicole Kidman), a former architect turned housewife, grapples with the disappearance of her youngest son, Gus. This loss casts a profound shadow over her relationships, including those within her family.

In the same luxury complex resides Hilary (Sarayu Blue), a businesswoman facing challenges of infertility and infidelity in her marriage to David (Jack Huston). The night Gus goes missing, David’s actions exacerbate their relationship struggles, creating tension with Margaret. Completing the trio is Mercy, a recent Columbia graduate navigating her way through Hong Kong while burdened with guilt over Margaret’s loss.

A Chronicle of Time: Unraveling the Events

“Expats” employs a unique narrative structure, seamlessly traversing backward and forward in time. This technique reveals the intricate events leading to Gus’s disappearance and the profound aftermath that follows. The series becomes a poignant exploration of diverse and painful consequences, from intense arguments to extramarital affairs.

The Compelling Characters

Wang’s brilliance lies in the portrayal of three compelling main characters, brought to life by the stellar performances of Kidman, Blue, and Yoo. Kidman masterfully captures Margaret’s grief, while Blue skillfully depicts Hilary’s restrained exterior gradually giving way to vulnerabilities. Yoo’s portrayal of Mercy, grappling with guilt and navigating her outsider status as a Korean American in Hong Kong, stands out with a powerful and resonant performance.

Outsiders in Hong Kong: A Layered Exploration

All three women in Expats find themselves as outsiders, yet their experiences differ. While Hilary and Margaret isolate themselves within expat circles, Mercy grapples with her identity as a Korean American. This nuanced layer adds a profound dimension to Expats’ exploration of how displacement impacts individuals differently within the expatriate community.


In conclusion, “Expats” is a masterful creation that skillfully weaves together tragedy, guilt, and identity. Lulu Wang’s ability to navigate complex emotional landscapes is showcased through the exceptional performances of the cast. The series, based on Lee’s novel, transcends the boundaries of conventional storytelling, leaving an indelible mark on the viewer’s psyche.

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