Double Happiness (1995)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Family ghosts, generational conflict, and the immigrant experience frame this episodic comedy-drama about a Chinese-born Canadian woman's quest for self-definition, which marked the debut of writer/director Mina Shum. Jade Li (Sandra Oh), an aspiring actress in her early twenties, lives at home with her strict father (Stephen Chang), her dutiful mother (Alannah Ong), and her sweet younger sister, Pearl (Frances You). Their older brother, Winston, has been disowned -- a fate Jade is not eager to share, both for her own sake and to spare her family pain. Therefore, although she manages to land a few bit parts on camera, Jade spends most of her time working in the shop owned by a family friend, performing the duties of a respectful daughter and suffering through arranged dates with prosperous young Chinese men. An adept cultural chameleon, though, she also leads a double life, hanging out with best friend Lisa (Claudette Carracedo) and beginning a tentative romance with Caucasian college student Mark (Callum Keith Rennie). When her father's childhood friend arrives for a visit, however, Jade must juggle her competing identities even more carefully than usual, lest her choice of professions -- and boyfriends -- shame her father. After premiering at the 1994 Toronto International Film Festival, Double Happiness won several international awards and made its U.S. bow at Sundance in 1995. Writer/director Shum -- who, like her protagonist, was born in Hong Kong but raised in Canada -- appears briefly on camera as a casting director who doesn't think Jade is Chinese enough. Oh, who is actually of Korean descent, won a best actress Genie Award (the Canadian equivalent of an Oscar) for her portrayal of Jade. The part of Dad Li marked a departure for Chang, a frequent martial arts movie villain and real-life friend of Bruce Lee.
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
First Generation


Sandra Oh
as Jade Li
Stephen Chang
as Dad Li
Alannah Ong
as Mom Li
Johnny Mah
as Andrew Chau
Frances You
as Pearl Li
Donald Fong
as Sau Wan Chin
Barbara Tse
as Mrs. Mar
Nathan Fong
as Robert Chu
Lesley Ewen
as Carmen
Estelle Coppens
as Lead Woman
So Yee Shum
as Auntie Bing
Greg Chen
as Uncle Bing
Dennis Foon
as Director
Kevin Kelly
as Lead Man
Gene Kiniski
as Man at Bus Stop
Tosca Chin Wah Leong
as Linda Taylor Wong
Mimi Mok
as Mrs. Mar
Laara Ong
as Selina
Tony Seaver
as Bouncer
Wong Shuck
as See-Fu Geomancer
Mina Shum
as Janet Eng
May Tam
as Grandmother
Rose Lam Waddell
as Producer
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Double Happiness

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (2)

Compelling idea, but slow, boring execution.

July 13, 2003

Delightful Canadian film about one young woman's coming-of-age.

Full Review… | August 28, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

When people say, "Write what you know," they don't mean, "Write about YOU YOU YOU!"

June 18, 2001

Quote not available.

July 21, 2005

Quote not available.

August 22, 2003
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Quote not available.

June 20, 2003

Audience Reviews for Double Happiness


Good movie, but can someone say "worst DVD cover ever?" More later, maybe.

Drew Smith
Drew Smith

Super Reviewer


A favorite. Love this movie! Sandra Oh is simply great in this film.

Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer


This is one of my favorite movies, really funny and clever look at a generational family having a bit of culture shock.

Keysha H
Keysha H

Super Reviewer

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