Red Doors (2005)
Running Time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Georgia Lee
Starring: Tzi Ma, Jacqueline Kim, Elaine Kao, Freda Foh Shen, Kathy Shao-Lin Lee
Red Doors is an indie flick surrounding the Wongs, a dysfunctional Chinese-American family living in the suburbs in New York. Ed (Ma), just retired and seemingly lost with his mundane life. The eldest daughter, Samantha (Kim) is a successful businesswoman in Manhattan who suddenly gets cold feet from her upcoming marriage when she runs into an old high school flame, a musician, Alex (Sutherland). The middle child, Julie (Kao) is a meds student finds herself falling in love with a beautiful actress who is doing some research at the hospital for a film role. While Katie (Lee), the youngest daughter is a rebellious high school student who has been involved with a continually escalating prank war with her neighbour, Simon (Stan). When Ed disappears without any notice one day, each daugher is forced to examine their own role and and connection to the family.
A simple and somewhat quirky indie drama, Red Doors is a delight to watch. It reminds me a little of Craig Lucas’ Birds of America. This being Georgia Lee’s directorial debut and also a film that’s written by her, I thought it was definitely a film that is personal yet has quite a few humourous moments to ensure the film is not too dreary. Some have criticised it for being stereotypical in terms of its characters which I could see where they were coming from but to me I thought there was a lot of truth and authenticity to the individual main characters. The existential crisis that Ed faces is one of my favourite things about the film as well as the wife’s reaction to it all.
The acting from the cast isn’t something that’s incredibly spectacular but the subtlety of their acting, especially from Tzi Ma and Freda Foh Shen is definitely noteworthy. Songs from Rossif Sutherland who also has a small part in the film heightened the mood of the film beautifully.
Overall, Red Doors is an indie gem – a simple, light, funny yet melancholic and moving story with a great cast. I truly hope Georgia Lee would write and direct another film again because she truly has a great potential for storytelling and filmmaking.
Rating: 7 out of 10