Recently nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary short film, Nai Nai & Wai Po takes a look at a delightful pair of grandmothers, and is available to watch on Disney+.
Directed by Sean Wang, who calls the film a personal love letter to his grandmothers, we follow Nai Nai (Yi Yan Fuei) and Wai Po (Chang Li Hua), who are “late-stage soulmates” in their 80s and 90s and live together with Wang’s parents in Fremont, California.
The documentary, despite reportedly being filmed in 2021 when the director returned home during the pandemic, has a vintage look with a very Grey Gardens vibe, though far more optimistic and heartwarming. While an abundance of fart-based stories were a little much for me, I know that others will find the moments delightfully charming.
We see the duo living life to the fullest, with the director’s grandmother, and his grandma in-law spending time together arm wrestling, dancing, making home movies, and even watching Superbad. The two even share a bed, which also serves as the setup for the aforementioned fart-joke bonanza.
Nai Nai & Wai Po isn’t just farts and home movies though, we got some heavy and sincere moments as they look at old photos and even a list of phone numbers that belonged to friends who are no longer alive to spend time with. Though, it isn’t all doom and gloom. The pair know that in their advanced age, the same fate as their friends and family is the same fate they are due as well. However, their view on the matter is full of hope, saying “the days we spend feeling joy and the days we spend feeling pain are the same days spent. So I’m going to choose joy.”
For its short runtime of about 15 minutes, we get a bit of a history lesson, but more importantly a lesson in choosing to live life with joy and the things that make you happy, and maybe a reminder to get outside and dance a little.
Nai Nai & Wai Po is now streaming on Disney+.