The Falls (2021) review – Taiwan drama sees the difficulties of a mother and daughter relationship

By Romey Norton
Published: January 29, 2022 (Last updated: January 21, 2024)
Netflix Taiwan film The Falls 2021


Close to being a boring, kitchen-sink drama, this film is slow and falls short of impressing. 

This review of the Netflix Taiwan film The Falls (2021) does not contain any spoilers. 

Is this the first in Covid-19 dramas? I seriously hope not. Netflix has the Taiwan film The Falls, which tells the story of a difficult mother-daughter relationship and how the two battle through Covid-19 and family changes. 

The film surrounds the evolution of an estranged bond made whole again, between the mother Pin-Wen (Alyssa Chia) and her teenage daughter Xiao Jing (Gingle Wang). This is a film set during the early times of Covid-19, where they wear masks, and when the daughter tests positive in class the mother rushes to get her and they must isolate themselves together, and the mother is put on permanent leave. It is very difficult to watch actors wearing masks in scenes — you really miss out on facial expressions and it creates a barrier between the viewer and the character. I can only assume they wanted people to relate to this story and compare their covid-19 hardships. Personally, I didn’t care for the Covid-19 aspect — the masks are distracting when actors are talking, and the way in which each country and each individual person has dealt with Covid is a hard topic to use to find relatable. 

I found the film long, with very little building drama. I wasn’t gripped and didn’t have any desire to continue watching. My only hope was that there would be a dramatic twist for an ending. There were some good moments where the film could have developed, such as the girl’s relationship with her father. This was quickly skipped. The mother’s deterioration was quick with very little reason and the parent-child dynamic changes and Xiao Jing becomes the parent so the hostile tension at the beginning is gone. Having to grow up quicker, Xiao Jing begins to see her parents as real, flawed people, rather than heroes who are invincible. This then leads this film to be a coming-of-age story, where two people’s lives change drastically forever. A sad and powerful ending, the film’s slow pace has a quicker pace towards the end — this whole ending is captivating, I wish the entire film had this passion and drive. 

The cinematography and photography are very clean and clear and contrasting colors between dark blue interiors and light skies reflect the claustrophobic, lonely, negative feeling of being inside whilst quarantining or illness, compared to the freeing, bright outside deserves recognition. 

The acting is to a good standard, there are some tense moments and heart-felt scenes between the child and the parents. With the mothers developing mental health issues throughout the film, there is a message of being patient, kind, and understanding in these hard times. 

I believe the director has made this film with the intention of not having any death or violence. Based on a true story, it is a simple story about a mother and daughter, and that is what it is. 

What do you think of the Netflix Taiwan film The Falls (2021)? Comment below. 

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