7.1/10
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Double Happiness (1994)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 28 July 1995 (USA)
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 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

Pearl Li: They're are these two peanuts walking down the street, and one of them gets a-salted.
Jade Li: Ouch.
Pearl Li: Do you get it?
See more »


Soundtracks

Sugar Kane
Written by Sonic Youth
Administered by the David Geffen Company
Published by Sonic Tooth BMI
See more »

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User Reviews

 
brave drama that is seldom told
14 August 2000 | by allan-36See all my reviews

Mina Shum's Double Happiness bravely explores a group that mainstream film (read: Hollywood) continues to ignore: Asians in North America. That the film features strong acting, good writing and confident direction makes its accomplishments all the more greater.

You don't need to be Asian to enjoy this film, anymore than you have to be Italian to watch The Godfathers. Young women of whatever ethnic backgrounds are bound to identify with the lead character, finely played by Sandra Oh. The daughter-father conflict crosses all national boundaries, and is explored in this film through the eyes of Chinese-Canadians.

I'm a Canadian of Chinese descent, and found the characterizations of the family to be accurate overall. At times, the domineering Father is one-dimensional (tyrannical and cold) and needed to be fleshed out more. The role of the siblings--especially towards their parents--was underplayed and could have offered a contrast to the main relationship between the elder daughter and Dad.

Still, the strict traditionalism of the parents was on the nose, and the struggles of the daughter, Jade, ring true. In fact, I venture to say that Jade was played *too* obediently, and should have broken from her family sooner.

Following this line of thought, the film could have been expanded to explore Jade moving into her own home and finding her own career as an actress, then reconciling (perhaps) with her stern Father at the end.

As it stands, the movie ends abruptly and too soon. Shum and Oh do a fine job of getting Jade on the audience's side, only pull the carpet on her just as she leaves home. The movie begs for closure in the relationship between daughter and father.

Perhaps in the sequel.


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