6.6/10
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19 user 14 critic

Red Doors (2005)

R | | Drama | 8 September 2006 (USA)
The Wongs struggle to cope with life, love, and family dysfunction in the suburbs of New York.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ed Wong
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Samantha Wong
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Julie Wong
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May-Li Wong
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Katie Wong
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Mia Scarlett
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Mark
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Alex
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Simon
Stephen Rowe ...
Dr. Levy
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Grace
Mao Zhao ...
Master Shen
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Reception Nurse
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Dance Instructor
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Trent
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Storyline

Red Doors tells the story of the Wongs, a bizarrely dysfunctional Chinese-American family living in the New York suburbs. Ed Wong has just retired and plots to escape his mundane life. However, the tumultuous, madcap lives of his three rebellious daughters change his plans. The eldest daughter, Samantha, is an ambitious businesswoman in Manhattan who suddenly gets cold feet about her upcoming marriage when she runs into an old high school flame. Julie, the shy middle sister, finds her life as a studious medical student turned upside down when she falls for a movie starlet visiting the hospital. Katie, the youngest sister, is a disaffected high school senior who engages in a continually escalating and dangerous prank war with her longtime neighbor and nemesis, Simon. Ultimately, Ed's disappearance compels each daughter to examine her own understanding of the role and connection she has to the family. At the same time, the Wongs learn to live their own lives outside the invisible fences... Written by Blanc de Chine

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Red doors bring good luck. The Wongs need all they can get.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R
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Details

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Release Date:

8 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mi lett a kislányaimmal?  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rossif Sutherland wrote and performed three original songs for the movie ("Yesterday", "I (Love) You" and "If Only"). Mia Riverton wrote and performed one ("I Know"). See more »

Quotes

Julie Wong: I'm so sorry.
Mia Scarlett: It's fine.
Julie Wong: You know what I'll get you a new one.
Mia Scarlett: It's fine, it's fine, it's fine.
[as she leans in for a kiss]
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Soundtracks

Yesterday
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User Reviews

 
Charming Film of A Model Minority Finding Unique Solutions to Family Problems
25 May 2005 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

"Red Doors" starts out looking like a re-tread of early Ang Lee movies, but quickly adds a charmingly unique cross-generational element as three sisters and their father are at crossroads in their lives from retirement to career and romantic choices to literally explosive teen rebellion.

Each of the Chinese-American daughters has a relationship with a Caucasian, but inter-ethnic issues are less of a concern than human issues of self-realization, as the characters end up drawing strength from their cultural context as they deal with the pressures of being "the model minority."

While the writing is stronger than the directing as there's some drag, particularly during the middle daughter's seemingly endless and petty travails, writer/director Georgia Lee makes the best use of actual home movies - her family's -- since "Capturing the Friedmans," for bringing memories to life. We are actually seeing her sister's, lively co-star Kathy Shao-Lin Lee's, childhood as the family members take turns digitizing home movies.

As is usual in first timer's ethnic coming-of-age movies there's a bit of a stereotyped emphasis on art vs. commerce career choices and high school memories that are doubtless a filmmaker's autobiographical resonances. But each character is very much an individual, including having their own musical themes, from hip hop to mopey singer-songwriter tunes. The teen ager is an original spark plug of comic relief even as the family members' relationships aren't all resolved sit com style.

I particularly liked how the acculturated oldest sister pushes the depressed dad (a marvelous Tzi Ma) to see a shrink but he wisely finds a more traditional healing process that's the opposite of talk therapy and a touching contrast to the similar emotional crisis in "About Schmidt."

The title was explained in an off-hand remark at the end, a reference to the tradition of painting one's front doors red to bring good luck, and not all the audience caught the meaning, though we all appreciated the red doors pins that were distributed after the screening at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was also nice of the director to give up some of her allotment of tickets to people on the long line hoping to get in, which included many Chinese-American women from around the New York metropolitan area who had heard about the film through word of mouth.

The potential audience may be confused by the time this film is generally released with "Saving Face" that is being distributed earlier, as they share a few plot points, including parental conflict and a lesbian daughter, but on its own it is a lovely, sweet film.


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