Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Long Life Happiness Prosperity|
Actors: Sandra Oh, Valerie Tian, Ric Young, Chang Tseng, Russell Yuen
Director: Mina Shum
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
In Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity, twelve-year old Mindy Ho (Valerie Tian) tries Taoist magic to fix her single mothers (Sandra Oh) financial situation and seemingly hopeless romantic prospects. Mindys misdirected cha... more »
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An Enchanted Experience
avoraciousreader | Somewhere in the Space Time Continuum | 08/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not the greatest, deepest film in the world, but it is immense fun. If anything, it reminds me of Shakespearian comedies such as A Midsummer Night's Dream, or the occasional magically whimsical European film such as King of Hearts. I saw it in theatre, knew nothing of what to expect (other than that I'd liked the Mina Shum / Sandra Oh team in "Double Happiness"), and was utterly enchanted. My only disappointment was that it was a 1-day run so I couldn't go back the next night.
Since Amazon doesn't provide a review or plot summary, I'll give what I can remember. Sandra Oh is Kin Ho Lum (gleaned from imdb; I don't know if her name is ever mentioned), a recently-divorced mother who has retreated to Vancouver's Chinese district where she washes dishes, studiously avoids involvement with men, and seems in general depressed and licking her wounds. Her 10'ish daughter Mindy (Valerie Tan, in a classic upstaging) is withdrawn and serious, trying to compensate for her vulnerability and powerlessness by turning to traditional Chinese magic, of a dimestore sort (equivalent to newspaper astrology columns vs. serious charts).
Mindy tries to use her magic to help many situations, from winning a lottery to bringing her mother and the nice guy she works with together, to finding a friend's lost turtle, but is disappointed when the magic doesn't seem to work. The camera, though, (and we) see that her spells and potions often do work but go hilariously astray, leading to much confusion. (The comparison to Midsummer Night's Dream was considered.)
Misplaced spell after misplaced spell stirs the pot, until in the end it is all sorted out with great panache and gaiety.
Oh's performance is good, bringing her usual edgy nuance to the role, and the ensemble cast is mostly quite good. But the true star is Valerie Tan with her owl-eyed, deadpan seriousness.
This film may not be to everyone's taste, but it certainly cast its spell over me."
Delightful & Lighthearted
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 02/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film as part of Magnolia Arts Center's film series. It's a delightful lighthearted tale about Asian immigrants. Sandra Oh who has won two Best Actress Genie Awards (Canada's Oscar) for "Double Happiness," also with director Mina Shum, & "Last Night" & had her breakthrough in "Sideways" and now is known for "Grey's Anatomy" TV series is edgy with wit and humor as the preoccupied single mother Kin Ho. Her daughter Mindy played by Valerie Tian who was also in "Wake of Death" with Jean Claude Van Damme does a wonderful job as the edgy young girl who experiments with Chinese magic, not always with the result she intends. Mindy's goal is to end her mother's unhappiness by having her marry Alvin played by Russell Yuen. In so doing, Mindy's magic causes a security guard to lose his job and almost commit suicide. Yuen has also appeared in films "Bulletproof Monk," "The Human Stain," & "Eye of the Beholder" with Ashley Judd & Ewan McGregor. Ric Young who was in "The Corrupter" and "The Transporter" does a good job as a butcher whose pride alienates his wife & son. Shot in Vancouver, "Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity" is an excellent evening filled with humor (chasing the duck) & the reality of families caring about each other while getting through the demands of paying the bills. Seek & you shall find! Enjoy!"
F. Bologna | Houston, TX | 09/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is among the most wonderful, heart-warming films I have ever seen. The screenplay writing is excellent. The acting, particularly by Sandra Oh and by the child who palys her daughter, are brilliant. I highly recommend this film."
Practicing Taoist Magic
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 09/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"LONG LIFE, HAPPINESS & PROSPERITY is a charming little film, another successful product of the Film Movement, which takes a small kernel of story and stretches it into the Butterfly Effect with fine comedic and sensitive writing from director Mina Shum and Dennis Foon. Films that give the flavor of life of communities outside the usual subject matter are always welcome, enlightening, and offer the audience to understand 'cultural differences' that are actually mirrors to the lifestyles of us all.
In a small Chinese community in Vancouver we meet Mindy Lum (a gifted young Valerie Tian) who at age twelve is concerned that her mother Kin Ho Lum (Sandra Oh), deserted by her husband, has narrowed her life to working in a dim sum cafe washing dishes, foregoing any possible social life, much less romantic interest. Mindy is convinced her mother should date fellow worker Alvin Ng (Russell Yuen) and while Alvin is attracted to Kin Ho, the latter can't be bothered. Mindy turns to Taoist magic, reading tacky dimestore manuals on tricks and love potions and spends her money on dragon mirrors and other paraphernalia in the attempt to attract Kin Ho and Alvin, to win the lottery, and to find the lost turtle of her little friend. She obtains a love potion from a 'sorceress', gathers circles made of the essential elements, and plies her mirrors and notebook instructions to gain her ends. But as fate would have it the magic becomes misdirected.
This altered tour of magic spells introduces other people in the community: the butcher Bing Lai (Ric Young) who has been separated form his own father for 20 years and tries to retrieve that relationship by preparing his only son Peter (Kameron Louangxay) to take over his business (Peter instead becomes a Buddhist monk); a security guard Shuck Wong (Chang Tseng) who is laid off from work and considers suicide when he can't even win the lottery; the quest for the lost turtle of Mindy's little friend. It is a series of 'best laid plans' (or aborted magic) that results in a series of changes and discoveries among these people and especially for Mindy's mother's future.
The dialog is divided between Cantonese and English (with subtitles) and the choice fits the flavor of the film. There are many fine supporting actors in this cast (especially Christina Ma), but the success of the story lies firmly in the hands of the superb Sandra Oh and the young Valerie Tian. Director Mina Shum has the insight and grace to keep this little tale light and tender, never allowing the plot to sink into bathos. Yes, there are flaws, but the end result is a touching low budget film that is honest and speaks to the heart. Grady Harp, September 07.