The Wedding Banquet begins with a happy gay couple living in Manhattan, Wai-Tung Gao (Winston Chao) and Simon (Mitchell Lichtenstein). However, Wai-Tung is nearing 30, and he begins to receive pressure from his family, who don’t know about his sexuality, to marry and start a family. They set him up with a dating service, and Wai-Tung and Simon do their best to stall the inevitable, but eventually Wai-Tung decides with Simon’s insistence to marry one of his tenants, a girl from mainland China named Wei-Wei who is need of a green card.
The Gao parents fly from Taiwan to host the wedding ceremony, and Wai-Tung and Simon are forced to go through all of the proceedings. After getting drunk at the banquet, Wai-Tung is raped by Wei-Wei and immediately becomes pregnant, complicating things further.
Wai-Tung’s father has a stroke shortly after this, and in a heated discussion Wai-Tung tells his mother of his true identity, causing her to be even angrier. During his recovery, Mr. Gao secretly lets Simon know that he’s well aware of the nature of their relationship, and appreciates the sacrifices that they’ve made, ultimately forming an unusual bond between the gay couple, the Gao parents, and even Wei-Wei, resulting in a most unusual of family arrangements.
“Sharply observed and never once striking a false note, this sweet-and-sour rib-tickler is a real treat.”
— Radio Times
“What makes the film work is the underlying validity of the story, the way the filmmakers don’t simply go for melodrama and laughs, but pay these characters their due. At the end of the film, I was a little surprised how much I cared for them.”
— Roger Ebert
Did You Know?
The Wedding Banquet was written five years before Ang Lee had ever released even his first film; the first half of the story is based on the real life story of his friend Neil Peng. The lead actor, Winston Chao, had never acted professionally before, having previously worked as an airline steward. Having earned $23.6 million, on a $1 million budget, the film was also the most financially profitable movie of 1993, when considered in terms of ratios of return, while Jurassic Park only earned a ratio of 13.8. Review our Gay Themed Films Here