Double Happiness (film)

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Double Happiness
Double happiness ver1.jpg
Promotional movie poster
Directed byMina Shum
Produced byStephen Hegyes
Rose Lam
Written byMina Shum
StarringSandra Oh
Callum Keith Rennie
Music byShadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
Mina Shum
Harley McCanley
CinematographyPeter Wunstorf
Edited byAlison Grace
Distributed byFine Line Features
Release date
  • September 7, 1994 (1994-09-07) (TIFF)
  • July 28, 1995 (1995-07-28) (U.S.)
Running time
87 minutes
Box office$759,393 (U.S.)[1]

Double Happiness is a 1994 Canadian drama film directed by Mina Shum, co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada.[2] The film stars Sandra Oh as Jade Li, an actress struggling to assert her independence from the expectations of her Chinese Canadian family. Callum Keith Rennie also stars as Mark, Jade's love interest.

Oh received critical acclaim for her performance,[3][4] and won the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for the film.


Jade Li (Sandra Oh) is a feisty, 22-year-old Chinese-Canadian aspiring actress who lives at home with her traditional Chinese family: 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.

Her family tries to put on the perfect public persona at all costs so as to maintain their dignity as well as uphold their traditional Chinese values. One primary part of this persona is prosperity. Jade's father hopes that true financial prosperity will become reality through penny stocks. Jade, meanwhile, tries to achieve that happy medium between giving in to her parents' wishes and fulfilling her own needs and desires - double happiness. 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 (Including one who is gay.). An adept cultural chameleon, though, she also leads a double life, hanging out with best friend Lisa (Claudette Carracedo).

When her father's childhood friend arrives for a visit, Jade must juggle her competing identities even more carefully than usual, lest her choice of professions—and boyfriends—shame her father. Because of its instability, Jade's parents don't understand or widely publicize Jade's aspirations to be an actress. Their main want for Jade is to date and marry a nice Chinese boy, a goal for which Jade's extended family also strives as they are always trying to introduce her to Chinese boys. Initially, they believe that the boy is Andrew, with who Jade even agrees to go out. But Jade, beyond wanting to be an actress, wishes her family had more western sensibilities. She is attracted to a slightly awkward but persistent Caucasian English graduate student named Mark. Jade has to figure out how to both please her family, who would not approve of her dating a Caucasian, and be true to herself. Her older brother is already out of the picture for that very reason. Naturally, something must give sooner or later, and the facade of the perfect Chinese daughter soon begins to crumble.


  • Sandra Oh as Jade Li
  • Stephen Chang as Dad Li (Lead) (as Stephen M.D. Chang)
  • Alannah Ong as Mom Li
  • Frances You as Pearl Li
  • Johnny Mah as Andrew Chau
  • Callum Keith Rennie as Mark
  • Claudette Carracedo as Lisa Chan
  • Greg Chen as Uncle Bing
  • Mimi Mok as Mrs. Mar
  • Lesley Ewen as Carmen the Casting Director
  • Donald Fong as Ah Hong
  • Nathan Fong as Dr. Ming Chu/Bartender
  • Dennis Foon as Director
  • Tosca Chin Wah Leong as Linda Taylor Wong, Ch. 4 News
  • Estelle Coppens as Lead Woman in Scene with Jade
  • Kevin Kelly as Lead Man in Scene with Jade
  • Gene Kiniski as Man at Bus Stop

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
1994 Genie Awards Best Motion Picture Double Happiness Nominated
Best Direction Mina Shum Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Sandra Oh Won
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Callum Keith Rennie Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Mina Shum Nominated
Best Cinematography Peter Wunstorf Nominated
Best Editing Alison Grace Won


  1. ^ "Double Happiness (1995)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  2. ^ NFB Collections page
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 25, 1995). "Double Happiness Movie Review". The Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet (July 28, 1995). "FILM REVIEW; A Delicate Asian Flower In a Motorcycle Jacket". The New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2016.

External links[edit]