Latest Hallmark Christmas Special Receives Mixed Opinions from AAPI Community

Hallmark’s latest Christmas movie, “A Big Fat Family Christmas,” stars two lead Asian American actors.

Reactions arising from the film have varied – Do the lead actors, Shannon Chan-Kent and Shannon Kook, take a powerful step forward towards broader AAPI representation in media? Or do they sloppily portray discriminatory stereotypes?

To examine this question, let’s take a closer look at the film

(spoilers ahead!)


The movie follows Liv and Henry, two journalists at the San Francisco Chronicle. Liv shows Henry the ropes as she shoots a story on her family’s Christmas party. Liv, for some reason, doesn’t want to tell Henry that she is related to the family that she is covering – And Henry somehow doesn’t know?

Classic rom com tropes ensue: The secrets between the two drive them apart before culminating in an emotional proclamation of love and happily ever after for the couple.


So, why is there so much debate regarding AAPI representation in the film?

Well, according to some people, the movie’s use of Asian culture was disorganized and portrayed negative stereotypes. One twitter user, @KeystoChina remarked,

“They threw everything Chinese / Asian-ish stereotype into a blender and then toss them out in front of an industrial fan.”


Others commended Hallmark for their portrayal of Asian American culture.

@_cgrants on twitter,

“A Big Fat Family Christmas was a wonderful movie. I love the fusion Chinese / American Christmas traditions.”


Or, @missash0579,

“Ok, @hallmarkchannel, your movies finally made cry. A Big Fat Family Christmas really touched my heart.”



“A Big Fat Family Christmas,” a touching portrayal of an Asian family’s holiday traditions and a step towards broader AAPI representation, or a hastily put together mockery of Asian culture?

We’ll leave it up to you to decide. The movie is currently playing on the Hallmark channel, so, if you have extra time, give it a watch — Or not… There’s plenty of other great AAPI inclusive Christmas movies to watch this Holiday season!

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