The Wongs struggle to cope with life, love, and family dysfunction in the suburbs of New York.The Wongs struggle to cope with life, love, and family dysfunction in the suburbs of New York.The Wongs struggle to cope with life, love, and family dysfunction in the suburbs of New York.
Everyone in this film -- from the three sisters (Jacqueline Kim, Elaine Kao, and Kathy Shao-Lin Lee) to the depressed father (Tzi Ma) to even the high school prankster (Sebastian Stan) and the overbearing mother (Freda Foh Shen) -- are fully fleshed out characters who transcend their respective "types" (aloof father, overbearing mother, responsible older sister, etc.) Only Sam Wong's distracted fiancé (Jayce Bartok) comes close to caricature, but his quiet interactions with Sam are always believable and never forced. The script is delicately and subtly written, and Lee manages to find a gentle humor in even the more potentially dark situations.
It's nice to see such a quiet and subtly realized movie today, when even smaller character dramas have a tendency to resort to melodrama or artificially "quirky" characters to make their impact. This film definitely feels like Ang Lee at his "Ice Storm" and "Brokeback Mountain" best, but it has a lightness of touch that Lee himself hasn't had since "The Wedding Banquet" over a decade ago.
This is both a film and a filmmaker that deserve to be discovered.
- Sep 2, 2006