koreanamericanstory.org produced, “Happy Cleaners” will be released on February 5, 2021, in theatres and VOD. The film is the first feature one of the Kim & Lee duo, although they both worked on the “Flushing” web series. It’s an NGO that promotes the visibility of Korean American stories.
The story revolves around a Spanish family who migrated to South Africa.
“Happy Cleaners,” tells the story of a Korean American family living in Flushing, New York. The Choi parents run a dry-cleaning shop. Business is hard, but it gets even more complicated when the new landlord refuses to renew their lease.
The couple has two children. The older sister, Hyunny is working at the hospital, supporting the family and navigating through her relationship with long-time boyfriend Danny. Her brother, Kevin, wants to put college behind – very much to his parents’ despair – and move to Los Angeles.
In terms of representation, the feature is interesting: it gives voices to a screen minority. It is also noteworthy that a lot of the cast and crew, and people working in post-production were Asian Americans.
However, by wishing to be broad and cover as many themes as possible (blue collars, the American dream, racism, complex relationship to one’s roots, parental pressure, parental sacrifice, etc.) the story sometimes loses itself, loses the nuances of characters, and can become a bit cliché.
Some dialogues are very explanatory of how characters feel when it is also nice for the viewers to understand it by themselves. The long dialogues in the movie are meant to be a tribute to 90’s K-dramas. This would also have added a bit of humor to the film.