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James Y. Lee

  • James Y. Lee (any pronouns) is a writer and critic from Northbrook, IL.

  • He is a film critic for Film Obsessive, MovieBabble, and Frame Rated, and is an affiliate member of the Chicago Indie Critics, as well as a voting member of the annual Dorian Awards. For his criticism, he has covered the Sundance, New York, Tribeca, and Melbourne International Film Festivals, among others.

  • His screenplays, stageplays, and essays have received national and regional recognition, including the inaugural Ray Bradbury Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, a Scholastic National Gold Medal and multiple regional Gold Keys, a YoungArts National Merit selection, and a YouthPLAYS One-Act Runner-Up award.

  • He is currently studying film at Northwestern University, where he is currently a Script Development Co-Chair of Studio 22 and a Co-Playwriting Chair of Vertigo Productions, as well as a 2023-2024 One Book One Northwestern Fellow. 

  • You can contact him at


Review Outlets:


2022 - Current

Film Obsessive

  • Currently writing reviews for current releases and retrospective analyses of older films.

  • Includes festival coverage.


2021 – Current


  • Currently writing reviews for new releases and retrospectives. Also includes all reviews for festival coverage.

  • I am also writing an ongoing series of essays on Korean cinema classics for the site titled Films from the Peninsula.


2020 – Current

Frame Rated

  • Writing reviews for new releases of various genres as well as retrospective pieces for anniversaries.

  • I have also written longer features and analyses for the publication’s Medium page, found here.

Review Samples:

The Fractured, Deranged Genius of 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'
Decision to Leave (2022)
Tár (2022)
Aftersun (2022)
The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022)
The Whale (2022)
Sundance Film Festival 2022 Review: Happening

Projects and Writing


Impermanence: Three Stories

An anthological series of three screenplays with the theme of grief and death, ranging in genre from metafictional to speculative science-fiction. 'Stack of Papers,' the second script featured in this anthology and excerpted below, received a 2020 YoungArts Merit Prize.


Nothing Ever Ends: Watchmen's Visions of America

An essay analyzing the continued societal relevance of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's groundbreaking superhero graphic novel, as well as Damon Lindelof's HBO miniseries successor. Received the Ray Bradbury Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, a Scholastic National Gold Medal, and the American Voices Award.



A one-act stageplay about a family's personal reckoning with their ailing patriarch, and the fraught emotional legacy he is about to leave behind. This play was a semi-finalist for the 2020 Blank Theatre's Young Playwrights Festival.


Zoophobia - Pilot

An excerpt from a dystopian sci-fi series pilot about a parasitic epidemic that changes its hosts into body-horror mimicries of their most feared animals, as well as the containment and research efforts that ensue. Outlined and created in a class taught by Eric LaRue writer and professor Brett Neveu. CW: strong violence and graphic descriptions of bodily mutilation.

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