DIM SUM FUNERAL
Dull and Dim
Release Date: June 12, 2009
Starring: Russell Wong, Steph Song, Bai
Ling, Kelly Hu, Talia Shire,
Julia Nickson, and Curtis Lum
Runtime: 95 minutes
Distributor: Home Box Office (HBO)/Time
Director: Anna Chi
Executive Producer: Tom Berry, Donald Martin and
Producer: Jeffrey Lando and Tom Berry
Writer: Donald Martin
Address Comments To:Bill Nelson, Chairman/CEO
HBO (A Time Warner subsidiary)
Le Amato, President, HBO Films
2500 Broadway, Suite 400
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 382-3000
The film starts with the death of the widowed mother of four adult children, a woman thoroughly despised by her children and their families. After her death, all four of her children make a trip to her Seattle home. There, they discover that their mother wished to have a traditional seven-day Chinese funeral.
Upon arrival at the home, it’s clear that the children don’t like each other. Though disappointed that they will have to spend a week together, the children reluctantly agree to follow through with their mother’s request. Over the course of the funeral, the siblings discover more about their mother and begin to make peace with each other. They also attempt to mend their own personal relationships, which have been all but destroyed by tragedy and immoral personal choices.
Though DIM SUM FUNERAL ultimately stresses forgiveness and the importance of positive family relationships, including two positive references to God, the movie fails to deliver these in a Christian or biblical form, much less a completely satisfying one. Instead, it more often than not celebrates Eastern religions, especially Buddhism. This false pagan content overwhelms the two references to God.
DIM SUM FUNERAL also embraces a lesbian relationship that one of the mother’s younger daughters is having. The daughter brings her lesbian partner with her for the seven days of the funeral ritual. In addition, the movie contains a brief depicted sex scene, references to past adultery, and the daughter’s lesbian “partner” smokes marijuana at least three times. The amount of foul language is moderate and mostly light, but there are some “s” words.
DIM SUM FUNERAL provides some laughs from the mother’s old friend that she met in Rome and some touching moments. But, for the most part, the acting is unconvincing and most of the characters aren’t as compelling as they could have been. Too much of the dialogue is static, especially during the first two acts.
Of course, it is ultimately the mixed theological messages in the movie that hurt it the most. Not only does it make for an inconsistent worldview. It also shows how many Americans and immigrants have adopted a politically correct, dim-witted New Age worldview. Such a syncretistic, or mixed, pagan worldview sometimes likes to retain a very watered down biblical element that sometimes honors God (as in the two references to God in the third act of DIM SUM FUNERAL) but ultimately places it into a New Age, Neo-Pagan, Buddhist, Hindu, and/or Deist context that is false and sometimes (if not often) also watered down to one extent or another. The God of the Bible, however, is real, sovereign, creator God who alone worthy (Exodus 20:5). All human beings are supposed to worship Him and Him alone (Deuteronomy 5:7 and 6:4,5). Finally, Jesus tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life! Without me, no one can go to the Father” (CEV).
DIM SUM FUNERAL is a sometimes dull drama about a dysfunctional Chinese family’s attempts to reconcile personal and family relationships. It stresses forgiveness and the importance of family at the end, but fails to deliver this in a Christian or biblical form, or a completely satisfying one. Instead, it often celebrates false Eastern religion and embraces a lesbian relationship. The R-rated movie provides some laughs, but the acting is unconvincing, and the characters and dialogue need work.