Sandra Oh stars as Jade Li, a feisty young Chinese Canadian living a “double life”. In one life, she is a respectful daughter from a traditional Chinese family, dutifully working at the shop of a family friend. In another, she is a modern woman attracted to a slightly awkward but persistent Caucasian graduate student named Mark. She aspires to become an actress despite her parents’ concerns over her career choices, and wishes her family had more Western sensibilities. When her father’s childhood friend arrives for a visit, Jade must juggle her competing identities even more carefully than usual, lest her choice of professions—and boyfriends—shame her family.
Double Happiness premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1994, three years before Anita Lee and Andrew Sun founded the Reel Asian Film Festival. A film ahead of its time, Double Happiness helped pave the way for the appreciation of Asian diaspora films that Reel Asian would go on to showcase to the Canadian public.