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Film / The Wedding Banquet

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The Wedding Banquet is a comedy directed by Ang Lee and released in 1993. It was Lee's first exploration of the societal acceptance of homosexuality, and is the second part in Lee's Father Knows Best trilogy.

Gao Wai-tung lives a successful life in New York City: his business is thriving and he is in a happy relationship with his boyfriend Simon. The only problem is that his parents, who have stayed back home in Taiwan, ask him with increasing urgency when he's going to get married to a nice Chinese girl and give them some grandchildren. Fearing their reaction, Wai-tung has never told them about his sexual orientation.

In order to satisfy them, Simon suggests that Wai-tung engage in a marriage of convenience with Wei-wei, one of his tenants, a penniless artist from Shanghai who needs a green card. What none of them expected is that Wai-tung's parents would show up for the wedding. Now Wai-tung and Wei-wei have to go through the hassle of an elaborate traditional wedding ceremony, complete with lavish banquet and dozens of guests. After the banquet, a terminally drunk Wai-tung realizes that Wei-wei is having sex with him.


With Wei-wei now pregnant, and Wai-tung's parents staying weeks longer than initially planned, the relationship between Wai-tung and Simon becomes strained. Wai-tung's father eventually figures out his son's homosexuality, and gives Simon a red envelope, a symbolic admission of his status as Wai-tung's real spouse. Wei-wei, who was considering having an abortion, decides to keep the baby and to raise it together with both men.


Contains examples of:

  • The Beard: Wei-wei for Wai-Tung
  • Citizenship Marriage: Wei-wei agrees to marry Wai-tung because she needs a green card.
  • Coming-Out Story: Well, zig-zagged. Wai-Tung goes through all the trouble to avoid this, but in the end still comes out to his mother, but not his father. Turns out his father knew all along because he understood some English.
  • Cosmetic Catastrophe: Averted While Wai-tung's father is giving Wei-wei a speech, she begins to cry from all the pressure, and then mother comes in to prevent "Three hours of make-up" from being destroyed.
  • Creator Cameo: Ang Lee makes an appearance at the eponymous banquet as the random guy saying "You're witnessing 5000 years of sexual repression."
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: The post-wedding scene in bed, a drunk Wei-wei pretty much forces herself upon an equally drunk but protesting Wai-Tung. On top of that, she ends up blaming him when she gets pregnant.
  • Dramedy
  • Family Honor: When Simon asks Wai-Tung's father about why he doesn't want his son to know that he knows he's gay, he answers "For the family".
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Averted by the fact that Wei-Wei is a bad cook according to Simon, and inverted by the fact that Simon does the cooking while Wei-Wei only pretends to cook in front of Wai-Tung's parents.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Wei-wei decides to keep the baby.
  • Hard-Work Montage: When Wai-Tung hears that his parents are coming to see him and Wei-Wei, we get to see a montage of Wai-Tung, Wei-Wei and Simon removing anything related to the relationship between Wai-Tung and Simon in the house.
  • Has Two Daddies: Two daddies and a mommy.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Wei-Tong comes out to his mother at the hospital, but not to his father. Then, later, Wei-tung's father reveals to Simon that he knew all along, but asks to keep it from everyone else.
  • I Want Grandkids: Wai-Tung's parents.
  • Love Triangle: Simon, Wai-tung and Wei-wei.
  • Makeover Montage: When Wei-Wei gets prepared for the wedding.
  • Marriage of Convenience: Wai-Tung and Wei-Wei's marriage serve both as a way of Wei-Wei getting her green card, and Wai-Tung being able to live in peace with Simon, away from his grandkid-begging parents.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Averted. Wei-wei's place is a mess, while Simon and Wai-Tung's place is well-kept.
  • Meddling Parents
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Simon can quite understand chinese, but when he speaks it, he can sometimes say the opposite of what he means to say.
  • My Own Private "I Do"
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Wai-tung's father. "I watch. I hear. I learn."
  • Platonic Kissing: At least from Wai-Tung's perspective any time people expect him and Wei-Wei to kiss.
  • Shameful Strip: Downplayed. At the end of the wedding, Wai-Tung and Wei-Wei are asked to remove all of their clothes while being under bed sheets.
  • Token Minority: Inverted. Simon is the only non-asian character of the main cast.
  • Translation Convention: Averted. You have mandarin-spoken dialogue in scenes involving Wai-Tung's family, and english-spoken dialogue in scenes involving Simon or other american characters.
  • A Simple Plan
  • The Matchmaker: Wai-Tung's mother
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Averted by Wai-Tung's mother when Wei-Wei starts to cry while hearing a speech by Wai-Tung's father.
    Wai-Tung's mother: Don't cry! It's a 3-hour makeup!