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Double Happiness
Double Happiness
Actors: Sandra Oh, Stephen Chang, Alannah Ong, Donald Fong, Frances You
Director: Mina Shum
Genres: Drama
PG-13     2007     1hr 27min

East clashes with West and generations collide in this comedy about a young Chinese woman struggling to appease her old-fashioned father, and at the same time pursue her modern dreams! Jade's parents want to see her happil...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Sandra Oh, Stephen Chang, Alannah Ong, Donald Fong, Frances You
Director: Mina Shum
Creators: Peter Wunstorf, Mina Shum, Alison Grace, Rose Lam, Stephen Hegyes
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 04/17/2007
Original Release Date: 07/28/1995
Theatrical Release Date: 07/28/1995
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 27min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: Cantonese, English

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Movie Reviews

Great cast overcomes predictable plot
Paul Sayles | Japan | 04/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Double Happiness is another movie about second-generation children seeking their own lives. This is a theme we have seen before, but this cast creates a thoughtful and enjoyable movie. This family has the predictable stern father and unquestioningly obedient mother, on the surface, but the film maker is able to get through the outside shell and show them as people with thier own fears and concerns. Sandra Oh, as Jade Li, gives her character real personality as she struggles to break into the world of acting. Not only is she a Chinese woman breaking into a western film but there are problems with her even making it into a Chinese film. Her family are desperate for her to settle down and get married and become a responsible child, but Jade isn't ready yet. There are a few plot twists as arranged matches go off the rails in her parents quest for her. Jade makes her own decisions as to romance and this leads to problems. This is not a story of love triumphing over adversity. It is a story of love and adversity living side by side. It does not have a romantic conclusion but ends on a thoughtful and wondering note. This is not The Brady Bunch with subtitles.The casting for this film was excellent. The cast works well together and is quite believeable. The setting is also excellent. I was able to get more invovled with the film as I recognized some of the sites in the film from previous stays in Vancouver, BC. So for me, this was an advantage in appreciating the film.Over all, this is a well made film that works well. It is a pleasure to watch. I recommend it to all."
Hilarious and Heartrending
avoraciousreader | Somewhere in the Space Time Continuum | 04/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is the story of a brief period in the life of Jade Li, a Chinese-Canadian woman in her early 20's living at home in a suburban Vancouver neighborhood with her strictly traditional father, sympathetically traditional mother and spunky younger sister Pearl. Jade has been successfully maintaining a dual life -- dutiful and obedient daughter on one hand, who comes home, prepares her father's tea and massages his shoulders; and on the other a hip, modern young adult sneaking home through the bedroom window after a night on the town. But there are cracks in the facade. Jade dreams of becoming an actress (not exactly 'respectable' to traditional Chinese), and is trying out for small roles, while her parents want her to study something 'sensible', like business, and eventually take over the shop where she works for a family friend. She begins to fall for a young white man, Mark, a part of her 'other life' -- while her parents keep fixing her up with suitable young Chinese men. A few seeming accidents begin to expose her separate, modern, pursuits. Eventually, the tension between these two worlds becomes unbearable for Jade. When she reaches her snapping point, it would have been easy for the film to end with a saccharine, all-is-well resolution, everything neatly wrapped up. Instead, the ending is tough and realistic, less a resolution than a new step in the continuing evolution of her life. With bright promise, it's the beginning of the real story for her. She's out of her holding pattern and on a vector ... to who knows where. It leaves me wanting to see a sequel exploring what's happened to Jade and the entire cast of characters in the ensuing decade. Sandra Oh is a standout as Jade Li, and Frances You (in seemingly her only role) makes an engaging Pearl. The other major roles are well cast also, with Callum Rennie a believably sweet and geeky Mark, Donald Fong (?) as Mr. Li's visiting childhood friend, and nicely nuanced performances by Stephen Chang and Alannah Ong as the parents. Viewers interested in this film might also enjoy the Faye Myenne Ng's novel "Bone" and Claire Chow's study "Leaving Deep Water".
Two asides:
First, this film is often compared to 1993's "Joy Luck Club". This is really like trying to compare a string quartet with a symphony. They can both be equally good, just different. JLC, like a symphony, is grandiose and complex (with a budget to match). "Double Happiness" tells the story of a few weeks in the life of a young woman, her small family and a handful of friends. JLC tries to encompass the history of four families, over five generations and much of a century; it is also the story of China and Chinese immigration to America, not just one family. I find "Double Happiness" more universal in that it is less complex and overtly dramatic. Second, a lot is said in film and literature about the difficulties of being an Asian-American daughter. It would be nice to see a film or two about the difficulties their gender bestows on Asian/Asian-American sons, in addition to the privileges; being "eldest brother" can be a fearsome and repressive responsibility, and when it comes to the dating game, young Asian males frequently feel left out, stereotyped as undesirable nerds, compared to their sisters who are seen as exotic 'prizes'."
This film changed my life.
AndyB ( | Los Angeles, CA | 12/14/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In 12 years of renting videos, this is the only one I own. Amazing performances by the main cast. The definitive Sandra Oh role; she is a genius in this film. The mom and dad roles are acted with depth and substance. Brilliantly casted all-around. Unique soundtrack by Canadian "not surf band" Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet; also including Sonic Youth. I highly recommend this film!"
Sandra Oh rocks in this small gem of a film. . .
Marc Harshbarger | Chic-a-go-go | 07/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Double Happiness" is not an earthshattering, groundbreaking film--but damn, it's good. Especially the wonderful Sandra Oh (Christine on "Grey's Anatomy"), who is a delight. She doesn't play a hardnosed, sharp-tongued character here--like she does very well on TV--instead she delivers a warm, appealing performance as a young woman caught between her family's strict values and her longing to break free and enjoy life. Not that she's miserable living at home with Mom and Dad and Sis--they have fun together--but she wants to be an Oscar-winning actress, and her parents don't see this as a proper career. All the actors are outstanding--and there are many great scenes--especially when the song "MacArthur Park" is unexpectedly introduced and also when Sandra discovers the truth about her handsome date. If you like Sandra Oh, you'll enjoy this film."