The New Zealand film My Wedding and Other Secrets by Writer/Director Rosanne Liang had its North American premiere simultaneously at film festivals in New York and Los Angeles over the weekend to sold-out audiences and won the audience favorite award in New York. While the movie is billed as a “romance,” the fact that it is based on a true story actually gives the film more of a dramatic edge than perhaps the title and the billing of the film fail to alert audiences too, and sadly, may deter those who love a great drama from going to see. So for those who wanna see a romantic film, you’ll love this, and for those who love dramas, here is why you should see this film!
My Wedding and Other Secrets is based on a documentary by Rosanne Liang called Banana In a Nutshell about her real life experiences; that in and of itself is part of the reasons why the film is so successful. Gone are all the nice ribbons and bows and cute little one-liners you would expect in a “romance” and instead you experience real characters with depth and with real conversations and interactions that are tangible. While in the end the film ends on a happy note as you’d expect from a romance, the journey to that point is littered with the complexities of human emotion, cultural differences, and the loving bond of family. Michelle Ang, who plays Emily Chu, does a wonderful job of creating a character torn between her love of a non-Chinese boyfriend and her family’s “Chinese” expectations for their daughter. Emily is then pulled in so many directions in the film while she tries to decide what her life should be, and the best choices to make, and it is Michelle Ang’s performance that brings this drama to life. Matt Whelan (quirky boyfriend) Pei-Pei Cheng (Mrs. Chu) Kenneth Tsang (Dr. Chu), Mike Ginn(charming, “perfect” Chinese guy), Celeste Wong (sister Melanie), and Katlyn Wong (sister Susan) all provide an exceptional supporting cast. Real life “Emily,” Rosanne Liang, directed the film and her guidance has created a film with the perfect balance between romance and drama, making a very original “romance” film that is a great drama not to be missed.