"This floor has been liberated but since you're so handsome you may come in."
- Wei-Wei (May Chin) to Wai-Tung (Winston Chao)
"As a married couple you'll be able to take a big tax break."
- Simon (Mitchell Lictenstein) giving the convincing argument for the fake marriage to Wai-Tung
New York Times - 08/04/1993
"...A contemporary bedroom farce....The unusual film comedy in which humor springs as much from character as from situation..."
Entertainment Weekly - 09/10/1993
"...With a comic knowingness, Lee shows us the contortions that adult children go through to live up to their parents' image of them....Chin throws off sparks..."
Gao Wai-Tung (Winston Chao) lives the good life: He runs a successful real-estate business in New York and has a wonderful relationship with his lover, Simon (Mitchell Lichtenstein). The only problem is that his elderly parents in Taiwan don't know he's gay--and they're pushing him to get married and present them with a grandchild. So, with Simon's approval, Wai-Tung strikes a bargain with Wei-Wei (May Chin), a charming young Chinese woman who is one of his tenants. If she'll marry him, he'll help her get a green card so she can stay in the United States. The charade culiminates in an elaborate Chinese banquet that no one will soon forget.
The second in director Ang Lee's Father Knows Best trilogy (completed by PUSHING HANDS and EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN), THE WEDDING BANQUET established Lee as a superior observer of intimate and domestic life. Cultural miscommunication, the obligations of tradition, and the difficulty of coming out as gay are all depicted with both hilarity and heartbreaking reality.
When a gay Chinese-American's unknowing parents pressure him into marriage, he goes along with it for the sake of appearances. However, things get complicated when it comes time for the groom to kiss the bride....
Family Interaction |
Gay / Lesbian |
Scams And Cons |
Theatrical release: August 1, 1993.
Shot on location in New York City.
Estimated budget: $750,000.
A common worry among potential financiers was that the film was "too Chinese for the gays and too gay for the Chinese."
THE WEDDING BANQUET grossed nearly $7 million at the U.S. box office and $30 million worldwide. The film grossed over 30 times its budget, making it the most profitable film (in terms of profit-to-cost ratio) of 1993. In Taiwan, the film was the biggest box office hit in its year of release.
Actor Winston Chao, who plays Wai Tung, was a model in Taiwan; Mitchell Lichtenstein (Simon) is the son of famed painter Roy Lichtenstein.
May Chin, who has the role of Wei-Wei, is a successful TV singing star in Taiwan. She performs "Diamond and Stone" on the film's soundtrack.
Although many people who saw THE WEDDING BANQUET assumed director Ang Lee was gay, he is not. He married Jane Lin, a microbiologist, in 1983, in a simple civil ceremony in Manhattan. The low-key wedding disappointed his parents.
The plot of THE WEDDING BANQUET was based on one of Lee's friends. The friend had been living with a white lover in Washington for eight years, but his parents didn't know he was gay.