Ethan Mao (2004)

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The product of a dysfunctional family takes unusual revenge on his parents in this drama. Ethan Mao (Jun Hee Lee) is a teenager living in a Los Angeles suburb with his straight-laced father (Raymond Ma), his new stepmother (Julia Nickson), his younger brother (David Tran), and his angry stepbrother (Kevin Kleinberg). Ethan has accepted his own homosexuality, but his father is not so understanding, and when he catches Ethan with a gay magazine, the youngster finds himself thrown out of the house. Ethan starts supporting himself as a street hustler, and moves in with Remigio (Jerry Hernandez), a drug dealer who develops a strong friendship with Ethan. On Thanksgiving Day, when his family is away, Ethan decides to break into his old house and recover a necklace that belonged to his late mother. Remigio decides to tag along, but before they can leave with the jewelry, the family unexpectedly comes home early. An argument breaks out and Remigio pulls a gun; moments later, Ethan and his friend are holding his mother and father hostage. Ethan Mao is the third feature from independent Asian-American filmmaker Quentin Lee.

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Critic Reviews for Ethan Mao

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (8)

Messy admixtures of drama and mockery crucially undermine pic's serious message.

Aug 11, 2005
Variety
Top Critic

It builds tension gradually but surely to an exceptionally strong payoff.

Aug 11, 2005 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Nobody onscreen seems to realize that this deadeningly self-serious treatment of family dysfunction is so overwrought that it becomes a spot-on satire of low-budget ineptitude.

Aug 11, 2005 | Rating: 1/5

Overly ambitious in its themes and crude in its execution.

Jul 15, 2005

Awkward dialogue, amateurist acting and uninspired direction.

Jun 17, 2005 | Rating: 1/4

Even allowing for the burdens of low-budget filmmaking, Ethan Mao is little more than a revenge fantasy for anyone whose parents ever gave him or her a hard time.

Jun 16, 2005 | Rating: 1/5

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