Year of the Fish

Critics Consensus

This modernized and rotoscope-animated update on the Cinderella story is charming at times and visually impressive, but audiences may find it to be too coarse for children and too superficial for adults.



Total Count: 24


Audience Score

User Ratings: 457
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Movie Info

Writer/director David Kaplan offers a new spin on the familiar Cinderella story with this visually inventive tale of a hopeful Chinese immigrant who discovers that life in New York City isn't for the faint of heart after being forced to work in a shady massage partner. Shot on video and subsequently rotoscoped to take on a slightly surreal look, Year of the Fish opens to find wide-eyed Chinese immigrant Ye Xian (An Nguyen) arriving in New York City in hopes of raising some money to send back to her ailing father overseas. Soon falling into the neon-lit lair of "massage parlor" madame Mrs. Su (Tsai Chin), Ye is forced to do all of the cooking and cleaning after refusing to service her clientele as instructed. All the while, Ye's only sense of solace comes thanks to a growing fish bestowed upon her by a mysterious hunchback named Auntie Yaga (Randall Duk Kim). Meanwhile, Ye longs to catch the eye of kindhearted jazz musician Johnny (Ken Leung) while fending off unwanted advances of Mrs. Su's depraved and persistent son. Just when it begins to seem as if Ye's situation cannot get any more grim, a lavish party staged to celebrate the Chinese New Year leads to a most unanticipated turn of events.

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An Nguyen
as Ye Xian
Ken Leung
as Johnny Pan
Tsai Chin
as Mrs. Su
Lee Wong
as Vinnie
Sally Seung Bayer
as Grandmother
Randall Duk Kim
as Auntie Yaga/The Old Man/The Foreman
Ken Marks
as Ye Xian's Customer
Henry Yuk
as Banquet M.C.
Matthew Saldivar
as Gang Leader
Philip Levy
as Businessman 1
Buzz Bovshow
as Businessman 2
Bunny Levine
as Tourist Woman
Wai Ching Ho
as Seamstress 1
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Critic Reviews for Year of the Fish

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (11)

  • The director-writer, David Kaplan, is able to hold our attention, and the film's unusual look lends a magical feeling.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Apart from the debut of appealing An Nguyen and a pet fish instead of a magic slipper, there's nothing particularly innovative here, and the film's seedy milieu ensures that it's anything but a kid-friendly fairy tale.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Too raw for kids and too simplistic for adults.

    Aug 29, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • David Kaplan's sweet, if superficial, fairy tale won't change the world, but it makes nice use of its setting (Chinatown) and visual style (rotoscope animation).

    Aug 29, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • An adult fable told with childlike simplicity, Year of the Fish updates an ancient Chinese version of the Cinderella story with imagination, charm and just the right amount of sweetness.

    Aug 29, 2008 | Rating: 4/5
  • Kaplan keeps the story breezy and brisk, and provides his down-to-earthily modern fairy tale with an appropriately other-worldly visual style.

    Aug 29, 2008 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…

    Bob Mondello
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Year of the Fish

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