The Wedding Banquet (1993)

Dir. Ang Lee

Penny, Grace and Mitchell and other fans of Ang Lee will want to see this. Jill would probably like this, as well Kevin and Chris. I think Tony would like this, but I’m least sure about him. I predict Don will think this is OK. Perhaps, my rating of 6 is a bit low, objectively it could be a 7; the score reflects my own enjoyment of it. Larri liked it, although I don’t know her rating. While this isn’t a bad film, I don’t think it’’s a close call in making the 1001 book.

The film is about a Chinese man, Wai-Tung (Winston Gao), who fakes a marriage with a Chinese woman, Wei-Wei (May Chin). This will help Wei-Wei stay in America and also satisfy his parents (in Taiwan), who have been nagging him to get married. The main problem is that Wai-Tung is in love with Simon and Wai-Tung’s parents have unexpectedly decided to drop in for the wedding.

Ang Lee’s interest and skill in depicting people frustrated by circumstances preventing happiness–usually because of unrequited love–is on display once again here. What’s slightly different is that you get some of his comedic touch, a la screwball comedy combined with the tragic situations. The film not be limited by accepted genres is something I really liked.

Lee’s skill in direction is also evident in the fact that two of the male leads aren’t very good actors, (Winston Chao was an amateur) yet he manages to create both funny and touching scenes in the film.

So why didn’t I give it a higher score? I guess the limitation of the main actors was a big reason for this. I think this limited the level of connection I had to them as well as lessening the effectiveness of the comedic scenes.

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