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Double Happiness (1994)

Twenty-two year old Chinese-Canadian Jade Li comes from a traditional Chinese family, who try to put on the perfect public persona at all cost so as to "save face". One primary part of this... See full summary »

Director:

Mina Shum

Writer:

Mina Shum
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6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sandra Oh ... Jade Li
Stephen Chang ... Dad Li (as Stephen M.D. Chang)
Alannah Ong ... Mom Li
Donald Fong Donald Fong ... Ah Hong
Frances Isles Frances Isles ... Pearl Li (as Frances You)
Callum Keith Rennie ... Mark (as Callum Rennie)
Claudette Carracedo Claudette Carracedo ... Lisa Chan
Johnny Mah Johnny Mah ... Andrew Chau
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Greg Chan Greg Chan ... Uncle Bing
Estelle Coppens Estelle Coppens ... Lead Woman in Scene with Jade
Lesley Ewen ... Carmen the Casting Director
Nathan Fong Nathan Fong ... Dr. Ming Chu / Bartender
Dennis Foon Dennis Foon ... Director
Kevin Kelly Kevin Kelly ... Lead Man in Scene with Jade
Gene Kiniski Gene Kiniski ... Man at Bus Stop
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Storyline

Twenty-two year old Chinese-Canadian Jade Li comes from a traditional Chinese family, who try to put on the perfect public persona at all cost so as to "save face". One primary part of this persona is prosperity. Jade's father hopes that true financial prosperity will become reality through penny stocks. Because of its instability, Jade's parents don't understand or widely publicize Jade's aspirations to be an actress. Their main want for Jade is to date and marry a nice Chinese boy, a goal for which Jade's extended family also strives as they are always trying to introduce her to Chinese boys. They believe that *the* boy is Andrew, with whom Jade even agrees to go out. But Jade, beyond wanting to be an actress, wishes her family had more western sensibilities. She is attracted to a slightly awkward but persistent Caucasian English graduate student named Mark. Jade has to figure out how to both please her family, who would not approve of her dating a Caucasian, and be true to herself. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for one scene of sexuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Fine Line

Country:

Canada

Language:

English | Cantonese

Release Date:

28 July 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bonheur aigre-doux See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$759,393
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Lisa: What is it that you want Jade?
Jade Li: To win the Academy Award.
Lisa: And I get invited to the ceremony?
Jade Li: Of course. You know, I'd get nominated for a really dramatic part. Something really hard and real. I don't know, something that I had to, like, gain weight for. Something.
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Soundtracks

Sugar Kane
Written by Sonic Youth
Administered by the David Geffen Company
Published by Sonic Tooth BMI
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User Reviews

 
Interesting and funny glimpse of Asian life in North America
29 May 1999 | by KateBradSee all my reviews

This movie was an interesting look into the life of a Chinese family in North America. I think the characters were written and portrayed in a believable, sensitive manner. The subtle, reserved, underplaying of the parents I think is sometimes mistaken as one-dimensionality, but really reflects a traditional and reserved nature that they were trying to maintain. Their expectations for their now westernized children, and the dilemmas that arise, are also evidence of that. It is not a case of right versus wrong, but novel versus traditional. As for the conflict of introducing Jade Li's main love interest as a Caucasian, I also don't believe that was intended to pit white people as good versus Asian people as bad. I think that the juxtaposition of the two lifestyles presents Jade's two major conflicts: her desire to lead a more Western life, with freedom to make many non-traditional choices, and her feelings of love, respect, and loyalty toward her traditional parents, whom she would not want to bring shame or betrayal. A life with one of the Asian suitors would symbolize her choice to remain under the guidelines of restraint her heritage suggests and their families demand.

One aspect I feel especially overlooked about this film dealt with Jade's big audition with the woman from Hong Kong. While Jade was brought up in a Chinese home in North America, she could understand and speak some Cantonese, but had many Western interests. But because she could not read Cantonese, this duality did not bring the success one might hope having the benefits of two cultures would bring. As the child of an Asian father and American mother (but raised almost entirely American, I'll admit), I found that scene very interesting.

I think this film was wonderful, and that one need not have a particular interest in Asian families to appreciate the family and social relationships, conflicts, and hopes portrayed in Double Happiness.


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