Beef (2023) is the newest trending Netflix show from A24, written by Lee Sung Jin, starring Steven Yeun (Danny Cho) and Ali Wong (Amy Lau). Filled with a predominantly Asian-represented cast, Beef tells a story about two people who encounter each other in a road-rage incident, kickstarting a chain of “beef” that leads to many dramatic events, completely altering the course of their lives.
Amy and Daniel first meet each other in a road rage incident after leaving an improvement store, but they both can’t let it go. Amy and Danny then find any possible way to obtain each other’s house address, personal information, and sabotage each other’s lives with extreme obsession. They are ready to spend their full time and effort to plot revenge.
Daniel is extremely poor and struggles to make a living by working as a contractor where all he has is a truck. Amy, on the other hand, is a “self-made” millionaire who married a Japanese man from a famous artistic family, owning a plant-selling business and a luxurious penthouse. Danny and Amy are two people at opposite ends of LA. However, at the end of the day, they both really, really, and really hate their lives.
If Daniel is stuck with financial problems and a low-class living environment, Amy is stuck with work, an unhappy marriage, and a lonely past that makes her think that nobody can love her unconditionally. In the end, they both drive their cars in tears, with flashbacks of past trauma coming up before their lives hit rock bottom. All the fancy details of Amy’s life are just a trap that keeps her from happiness. Ali Wong once mentioned in an interview that even though the house is designed to be zen and expensive, it’s also structured to feel like a “cage.”
The coolest part of the plot is that the moment you think everything has ended and it cannot be more horrible, it gets worse. The story starts with a typical expression of madness from the main characters, then ends with extreme incidents that leave the audience in shock. Lee Sung Jin — the show’s creator — has created a world where any kind of “beef” can be possible.
A24 once again did a great job in making films that were predominantly filled with an Asian cast — after Everything Everywhere All At Once. Many times in the show, the writers have integrated many details of how Amy grew up harshly with the generational trauma passed down from her immigrant parents, and how Danny works so hard, but all he ever wanted was to build a nice house for his Korean mom and dad.
Beef, in the end, not only offers us a story that is at the same time fun, dark, and surprising but also tells a story that invites more of a minority community to the table, where we can watch a story about Asian immigrants in LA striving to be happy by any means possible from everywhere around the world on Netflix.
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