7.1/10
995
23 user 20 critic

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 ... 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

Jade Li: I look like Connie Chung.
See more »


Soundtracks

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

Marigold of a movie
28 November 2002 | by budikavlanSee all my reviews

This was a cute, sweet small movie about a Chinese-Canadian woman caught between her dreams and her father's expectations. Complaints about the film center on what some see as the director's one-sided depiction of the anti-assimilation viewpoint. Jade's father is so concerned that his children live within the constricts of traditional Chinese culture that he cuts off contact with them entirely if they stray. But Mina Shum (the director) never claims that his rigidity is the rule; the story is about how Jade deals with the specific situation, and it makes no claim that her situation is pervasive. Other Asian characters have different levels of acceptance of Western openness: Jade's mother, while not openly defying her husband, maintains contact with her son whom his father has cut off completely. So "Double Happiness" isn't an anti-Asian traditionalism screed, as some have claimed, neither is it an Everywoman story of freedom as some seem to want it to be. It's simply Jade's story about choosing between her dreams and the man she's falling in love with against her father's uncompromising worldview.

Mechanically, the movie is good if not a masterpiece. The performances are excellent. Sandra Oh is charged with almost singlehandedly winning over the viewer, and she's completely up to the challenge. All performances are (as far as I can tell anyway) wonderfully authentic. This was Callum Keith Rennie's first major role, and he's as awkward, sweet, and appealing as ever. The interstitial scenes of characters speaking to the camera are an interesting experiment--a good tool for revealing character, they nevertheless are sometimes jarring. Overall, the film is like a compact colorful flower: it won't dominate the landscape but it richly awards the lucky soul whose attention it captures.


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