Our Rating: ★★★½☆
L Factor: Major lesbian characters
Short Take: Chinese American siblings come together planning their mother’s funeral
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2008
Duration: 95 min
Language: Canada, USA/English
Director: Anna Chi
Writer: Donald Martin
Starring: Ling Bai, Steph Song, Talia Shire, Julia Nickson, Russell Wong, Françoise Yip, Curtis Lum
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Dim Sum FuneralThe ethnic funeral story, with children returning home to plan a loved one’s last rites, has been done before. Dim Sum Funeral is another addition to this tradition, as four Asian American siblings find that their deceased mother insisted that they put together a traditional Chinese funeral. They are luckily assisted by their American nanny (Talia Shire), since none of them are very familiar with Chinese tradition, and all of them disliked their mother, whom they called the Dragon Lady.

The eldest, journalist Liz (Julia Nickson), has just lost a son and is estranged from her white husband; brother Alexander (Russell Wong) is a plastic surgeon who cheats on his wife; real estate agent Victoria (Francoise Yip) has a mixed race child from an African-American boyfriend her mother disapproved of; and Meimei (Steph Song) is a lesbian and a ninja in Chinese action flicks.

Meimei arrives with her partner Dede (Ling Bai). As they all negotiate the funeral plans, and the siblings begin to forgive their mother and one another, Meimei and Dede discuss how to move forward with having a baby together. From one of the monks (Curtis Lum) who come to the house each day to chant, they find a potential sperm donor.

The movie does begin to drag on a bit, trying to cover a range of emotions and situations for each character, and the ending is a little predictable, but the film is well done and worth a rental. The Dragon Lady lives up to her name, although it turns out that she wasn’t as judgmental (or as perfect) as they all thought. There is a message of acceptance for both interracial relationships and lesbian relationships, recognizing that all of us are searching for love.  (AB)