Li Lai

Li Lai
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Li Lai is the founder of Mediaversity Reviews, a website that scores TV and films on gender, racial, and LGBTQ inclusion. Onscreen representation is her passion, and she considers art inextricable from its social contexts. For this reason, she values fresh perspectives from underrepresented voices, and her TV and film reviews reflect that. Li has been previously featured in Variety, The Verge, CBC Radio, Chicago Tribune, and other outlets. She has also spoken at venues such as Adweek Europe or with the Women's Impact Network of the Producers Guild of America.
Publications: Mediaversity Reviews

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
B 79% Over the Moon (2020) Is Over the Moon an Asian American story or a Chinese one? It tries to be both and winds up feeling like neither. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2020
C+ 74% Shadow in the Cloud (2020) "Not all men," I could hear myself thinking. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2020
A- 97% Nomadland (2020) Nomadland presents older characters, many living with disabilities, unvarnished but with endless empathy. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2020
B 87% Detention (2019) The impact of Detention outpaces the confines of its technical skill. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 31, 2020
B- 94% Palm Springs (2020) The protagonists of Palm Springs quietly subvert gender roles. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2020
A- 99% Miss Juneteenth (2020) Miss Juneteenth easily reflects a worldview where Black women are three-dimensional and empowered. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 30, 2020
A+ 97% The Half of It (2020) The handwaved 'Latin-ness' of Aster Flores collapses under its own ambiguity. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2020
B+ 100% Hamtramck, USA (2020) Hamtramck, USA neither whitewashes the Muslim experience nor demonizes it. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 30, 2020
C- 93% Critical Thinking (2020) When a true story is all a movie has going for it, why drown it in schmaltz? - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2020
B 100% I Will Make You Mine (2020) Chen gives us a boots-on-the-ground look at how East Asian American millennials realistically go about their lives in LA. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2020
B+ 95% I Carry You with Me (2021) I Carry You With Me reveals the intersection of misogyny and homophobia that exists among traditionalists. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2020
B 90% Promising Young Woman (2020) Depending on your point of view, A Promising Young Woman could be considered sexist. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 17, 2020
A+ 100% Minari (2020) Minari is American cinema at its most inclusive, one that reaches out while vigilantly safeguarding its core of human specificity. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2020
2.83/5 89% 1917 (2020) Sam Mendes' film makes incremental updates to the war movie genre... - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2020
C 94% Marriage Story (2019) Marriage Story follows the confusion and mounting frustrations of Charlie, while Nicole's motivations feel largely opaque. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2020
C- 90% The Climb (2020) How many times must we watch and forgive assholes who are "at their core, good guys"? - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
A 87% Hustlers (2019) While the richness of the main characters feels unparalleled, it doesn't apply across the board. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
B- 63% Motherless Brooklyn (2019) Norton humanizes Tourette Syndrome in Motherless Brooklyn but still reinforces media tropes about the condition. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
A+ 92% Clemency (2019) Clemency 'shows' rather than 'tells' its inclusive tenets. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
B+ 97% Knives Out (2019) Knives Out weaves in some effective commentary on immigration. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2019
B+ 94% To the Ends of the Earth (Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari) (2020) Many films set abroad borrow "exotic" backdrops and locals to make their lead characters more interesting. To the Ends of the Earth avoids all that. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2019
A 85% Yellow Rose (2020) Yellow Rose deftly parallels two seemingly opposing groups: the American cowboy and the undocumented immigrant. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2019
A 80% Late Night (2019) Late Night spins a great message about racial diversity, but stops short at embodying it. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2019
B 89% Always Be My Maybe (2019) Always Be My Maybe breaks barriers for diverse talent but offers a simplistic take on the Asian American experience. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
B 88% Plus One (2019) Plus One pulls back the curtain on romance to present what a 'perfect ending' actually looks like. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 13, 2019
A+ 95% Lucky Grandma (2020) It's a joy to see Tsai Chin, who is now 85 years old, play the lead of an action-oriented gangster comedy set in New York City's Chinatown. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
B- 92% Wild Rose (2019) Wild Rose lives and breathes feminism without ever having to comment on it. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2019
B 86% Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements (2019) Moonlight Sonata is an affecting work that gives full texture to the meaning of being deaf, hard of hearing, or having loved ones in the community. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2019
A- 96% Booksmart (2019) Booksmart feels baked in sexual diversity. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2019
C 89% Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (2019) Michelle Yeoh remains incredible to watch, but toxic masculinity rules the kung fu genre-and Master Z is no different. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2019
A- 86% The Weekend (2019) The Weekend feels quietly radical with its rendering of Black characters in roles we normally see reserved for the white upper middle class. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2019
B+ 89% Jezebel (2019) Numa Perrier wraps you in a cocoon of safety as we traverse Jezebel's difficult material together. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 17, 2019
B- 62% Native Son (2019) Native Son challenges society to stop objectifying Black culture, showing how worshiping it can be just as dehumanizing as loathing or fearing it. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 16, 2019
B+ 93% Romantic Comedy (2019) Romantic Comedy thoughtfully explores a major category of films from a distinctly female perspective. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
F 65% Vice (2018) Vice comes off as a boys' club that has its heart in the right place but ultimately succumbs to its own self-importance. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 23, 2019
B+ 42% What Men Want (2019) What Men Want never reaches for lazy stereotypes to garner its many laughs. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 22, 2019
D 60% Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Singer has been repeatedly accused of sexual assault against underage boys, leading to a thick cloud of unease that hangs over Bohemian Rhapsody. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 18, 2019
A 100% Vai (2019) Vai amplifies Pacifika filmmaking with its slate of 9 directors, all of them indigenous women. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2019
D 77% Green Book (2018) Green Book has a race problem, but it delivers cringeworthy depictions of women and gay men too. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 9, 2019
A+ 98% The Farewell (2019) The Farewell dives straight into the deep end with authentic representation, handily revealing the infinite diversity within Chinese identity alone. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 3, 2019
C+ 91% Bumblebee (2018) Lack of racial diversity in Bumblebee is tempered by a complex female lead, with the end result of a rockin' movie guaranteed to make your Millennial soul soar. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
C- 89% Hereditary (2018) Hereditary literally demonizes a transgender spirit. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2019
C+ 99% Eighth Grade (2018) Eighth Grade helps fill a void of complex young women in film, but its complete disinterest in characters of color feels limiting. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2019
B 97% Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) I'm flummoxed by how many new (and progressive!) films still fail the laughably easy Bechdel Test. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2019
A- 84% Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Chirrut's abilities borderline the trope of portraying disability as a superpower, but thankfully writers avoid offense by giving him a personality and character development that has nothing to do with his eyesight. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
A 93% Hidden Figures (2017) Hidden Figures presents a different angle to what it means to be Black in America and delivers it to a wide audience. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
D 95% Sing Street (2016) Middling film that relies heavily on 1980s nostalgia-and unfortunately, the racist and male-centric tropes of that decade as well. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
A 97% The Fits (2016) The Fits champions young Black women, but the true journey that Anna Rose Holmer takes us on transcends anything external. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
A- 94% Arrival (2016) In a refreshing gender role-reversal, Louise's male science partner plays the support character who deepens the main storyline of a woman. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
B- 91% Mountains May Depart (Shan he gu ren) (2016) The film is at its best when depicting the sheer estrangement between generations within the modern Chinese family. - Mediaversity Reviews EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019