Eat Drink Man Woman

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Eat Drink Man Woman
Eat Drink Man Woman.jpg
DVD cover
Mandarinyǐn shí nán nǚ
Literallydrink, eat, man, woman
Directed byAng Lee
Produced byHsu Li-kong
Hsu Kong
Written byAng Lee
James Schamus
Hui-Ling Wang
Music byMader
CinematographyJong Lin
Edited byAng Lee
Tim Squyres
Distributed byThe Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date
  • August 3, 1994 (1994-08-03)
Running time
123 minutes
United States
LanguageMandarin Chinese
Box office$7.2 million

Eat Drink Man Woman (Chinese: 飲食男女) is a 1994 comedy-drama film directed by Ang Lee and starring Sihung Lung, Yu-wen Wang, Chien-lien Wu, and Kuei-mei Yang.[1] The film was released on 3 August 1994, and it was both a critical and box office success.[2] In 1994, the film received the Asia Pacific Film Festival Award for Best Film, and in 1995 it received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.[3][4]

The title is a quote from the Book of Rites, one of the Confucian classics, referring to the basic human desires and accepting them as natural. The beginning of the quote reads as follows: "The things which men greatly desire are comprehended in meat and drink and sexual pleasure;" (Translation by James Legge) Chinese:「飲食男女,人之大欲存焉」.[5]

Many of the cast members had appeared in Ang Lee's previous films. Sihung Lung and Ah Lei Gua played central elderly figures dealing with the transition from tradition to modernity in The Wedding Banquet, in which Winston Chao also starred. Sihung Lung played an immigrant father in Pushing Hands. These three films show the tensions between the generations of a Confucian family, between East and West, and between tradition and modernity. They form what has been called Lee's "Father Knows Best" trilogy.[6] The script was written by Ang Lee, James Schamus and Hui-Ling Wang.[7]


The setting is 1990s contemporary Taipei, Taiwan. Mr. Chu, a widower who is a master Chinese chef, has three unmarried daughters, each of whom challenges any narrow definition of traditional Chinese culture: Chu Jia-Jen, a school teacher nursing a broken heart who converted to Christianity; Chu Jia-Chien, a fiercely independent airline executive who carries her father's culinary legacy, but never got to pursue that passion; and Chu Jia-Ning, a college student who meets her friend's on-again off-again ex-boyfriend and starts a relationship with him.

Each Sunday Mr. Chu makes a glorious banquet for his daughters, but the dinner table is also the family forum, to which each daughter brings “announcements” as they negotiate the transition from traditional “father knows best” attitudes to a new tradition which encompasses old values in new forms.

As the film progresses, each daughter encounters new men. When these new relationships blossom, their roles are altered and the dynamics within the family change. The father eventually brings the greatest surprise by marrying Liang Jin-Rong.


  • Sihung Lung as Chu
  • Kuei-Mei Yang as Jia-Jen
  • Chien-lien Wu as Jia-Chien
    • Jia-Chien is sexually liberated. She suspects Jia-Jen of disapproving of her moral system.
    • Chien-lien Wu, who plays Jia-Chien, also portrays Mr. Chu's dead wife.
  • Yu-Wen Wang as Jia-Nin
  • Sylvia Chang as Jin-Rong
  • Winston Chao as Li KaI
  • Chao-jung Chen as Guo Lun
  • Lester Chit-Man Chan as Raymond
  • Yu Chen as Rachel
  • Gua Ah-leh as Madame Liang
  • Chi-Der Hong as Class Leader
  • Gin-Ming Hsu as Coach Chai
  • Huel-Yi Lin as Sister Chang
  • Shih-Jay Lin as Chief's Son
  • Chin-Cheng Lu as Ming-Dao
  • Cho-Gin Nei as Airline Secretary
  • Yu-Chien Tang as Shan-Shan
  • Chung Ting as Priest
  • Hari as Construction Worker
  • Cheng-Fen Tso as Fast Food Manager
  • Man-Sheng Tu as Restaurant Manager
  • Zul as Mendaki
  • Chuen Wang as Chief
  • Reuben Foong as Drama Mamma
  • Jui Wang as Old Wen
  • Hwa Wu as Old Man[8]


Critical response[edit]

In her review in The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised Ang Lee as "a warmly engaging storyteller". She wrote, "Wonderfully seductive, and nicely knowing about all of its characters' appetites, Eat Drink Man Woman makes for an uncomplicatedly pleasant experience".[9]

In his review in the Washington Post, Hal Hinson called the film a "beautiful balance of elements ... mellow, harmonious and poignantly funny". Hinson concluded:

As the relationships evolve and deepen, there seems to be a surprise around every corner—for both the characters and the audience. But what is most surprising, perhaps, is how involved we become with these people. As satisfying as food can be, the fullness we feel at the end here is far richer and more complex than that offered by the most extravagant meal. “ Eat Drink Man Woman” is a delicacy but also something more—something like food for the heart.[10]

According to the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 88% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 49 reviews, with an average rating of 7.56/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "A richly layered look at the complex interactions between a widowed chef and his daughters, Ang Lee's generational comedy Eat Drink Man Woman offers filmgoers a tasty cinematic treat."[2]


Tortilla Soup, a 2001 American comedy-drama film directed by Maria Ripoll, is based on Eat Drink Man Woman. A sequel, Eat Drink Man Woman 2012 [饮食男女2012] (titled Joyful Reunion in English) was released, with Jui-Yuan Tsao, producer for the original film, serving as director,[11] and a new set of characters exploring similar themes.[12]

Year-end lists[edit]


  • 1994 Asia Pacific Film Festival Award for Best Film (Ang Lee) Won
  • 1994 Asia Pacific Film Festival Award for Best Editing (Tim Squyres) Won
  • 1995 Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film
  • 1994 Golden Horse Film Festival Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress (Ya-lei Kuei)
  • 1994 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award for Best Foreign Language Film Won
  • 1994 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award for Top Foreign Films Won
  • 1995 BAFTA Awards Nomination for Best Film not in the English Language
  • 1995 Golden Globe Awards Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film
  • 1995 Independent Spirit Awards Nomination for Best Cinematography (Jong Lin)
  • 1995 Independent Spirit Awards Nomination for Best Director (Ang Lee)
  • 1995 Independent Spirit Awards Nomination for Best Feature (Ted Hope, Hsu Li-kong, James Schamus)
  • 1995 Independent Spirit Awards Nomination for Best Female Lead (Chien-lien Wu)
  • 1995 Independent Spirit Awards Nomination for Best Male Lead (Sihung Lung)
  • 1995 Independent Spirit Awards Nomination for Best Screenplay (Hui-Ling Wang, James Schamus, Ang Lee)
  • 1995 Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Film Won[3]

Musical Adaptation[edit]

Based on the film, a musical version opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 2019. 音樂劇《飲食男女》

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Sihung Lung was credited as Lang Hsiung.


  1. ^ "Eat Drink Man Woman". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Eat Drink Man Woman (Yin shi nan nu) (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Awards for Eat Drink Man Woman". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  4. ^ "The 67th Academy Awards (1995) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  5. ^ "Lǐyùn 禮運 19" [Ceremonial usages; their origins, development, and intention], Lǐjì 《禮記》 [Book of Rites]
  6. ^ Wei Ming Dariotis, Eileen Fung, "Breaking the Soy Sauce Jar: Diaspora and Displacement in the Films of Ang Lee," in Hsiao-peng Lu, ed., Transnational Chinese Cinemas: Identity, Nationhood, Gender (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997), p. 242.
  7. ^ Howe, Desson. " ‘Eat Drink Man Woman’." Washington Post. 19 October 1994. Retrieved on 20 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Full cast and crew for Eat Drink Man Woman". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  9. ^ Maslin, Janet (August 3, 1994). "Film Review: Avoiding Basic Human Desires, or Trying To". The New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
  10. ^ Hinson, Hal (August 19, 1994). "Eat Drink Man Woman". Washington Post. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Denerstein, Robert (January 1, 1995). "Perhaps It Was Best to Simply Fade to Black". Rocky Mountain News (Final ed.). p. 61A.
  14. ^ Berardinelli, James (January 2, 1995). "Rewinding 1994 -- The Year in Film". ReelViews. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  15. ^ Clark, Mike (December 28, 1994). "Scoring with true life, `True Lies' and `Fiction.'". USA Today (Final ed.). p. 5D.
  16. ^ Zoller Seitz, Matt (January 12, 1995). "Personal best From a year full of startling and memorable movies, here are our favorites". Dallas Observer.
  17. ^ Arnold, William (December 30, 1994). "'94 Movies: Best and Worst". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Final ed.). p. 20.
  18. ^ Simon, Jeff (January 1, 1995). "Movies: Once More, with Feeling". The Buffalo News. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  19. ^ Mayo, Mike (December 30, 1994). "The Hits and Misses at the Movies in '94". The Roanoke Times (Metro ed.). p. 1.
  20. ^ "The Year's Best". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. December 25, 1994. p. K/1.
  21. ^ King, Dennis (December 25, 1994). "SCREEN SAVERS In a Year of Faulty Epics, The Oddest Little Movies Made The Biggest Impact". Tulsa World (Final Home ed.). p. E1.
  22. ^ Meyer, George (December 30, 1994). "The Year of the Middling Movie". The Ledger. p. 6TO.
  23. ^ Carlton, Bob (December 29, 1994). "It Was a Good Year at Movies". The Birmingham News. p. 12-01.
  24. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 27, 1994). "CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; The Good, Bad and In-Between In a Year of Surprises on Film". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  25. ^ P. Means, Sean (January 1, 1995). "'Pulp and Circumstance' After the Rise of Quentin Tarantino, Hollywood Would Never Be the Same". The Salt Lake Tribune (Final ed.). p. E1.
  26. ^ MacCambridge, Michael (December 22, 1994). "it's a LOVE-HATE thing". Austin American-Statesman (Final ed.). p. 38.
  27. ^ Pickle, Betsy (December 30, 1994). "Searching for the Top 10... Whenever They May Be". Knoxville News-Sentinel. p. 3.
  28. ^ Dudek, Duane (December 30, 1994). "1994 was a year of slim pickings". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 3.

External links[edit]