Dim Sum Funeral (2008) Poster

Dim Sum Funeral (2008)

  • Rate: 5.1/10 total 325 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 2009 (Canada)
  • Runtime: USA:95 min
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Dim Sum Funeral (2008)


Dim Sum Funeral 2008tt1216477.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Dim Sum Funeral (2008)
  • Rate: 5.1/10 total 325 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 2009 (Canada)
  • Runtime: USA:95 min
  • Filming Location: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
  • Director: Anna Chi
  • Stars: Bai Ling, Steph Song and Talia Shire
  • Original Music By: Dean Landon  Scott Starrett   
  • Soundtrack: Sweet & Happy
  • Plot Keyword: Funeral | Chinese American | Chinese | Mistress | Grief

Writing Credits By:

  • Donald Martin (written by)

Known Trivia

    Plot: A story about a group of estranged Chinese-American siblings who reunite after the death of their mother. Full summary »  »

    Story: Adult Chinese-American siblings Alexander, Liz, Victoria and Meimei reluctantly converge on their hometown of Seattle after their mother, Linda Xiao, passes away from her bout with cancer, about which they didn't even know until after her passing. "Reluctant" as they all disliked their mother – who they called the "Dragon Lady" as she showed them little love while she was alive and who pitted each against the others as they grew up – and have been estranged from each other because of it. Despite each having successful professional lives – Alexander being a cosmetic surgeon, Liz a magazine columnist, Victoria a real estate agent, and Meimei an actress in Chinese ninja movies – each sibling carries personal baggage, much associated with their mother's ways. Married Alexander, much like his now deceased father before him, has a mistress on the side, about which his ex-beauty pageant queen wife Cindy knows…Written by Huggo  


    Synopsis: An Irish funeral has a wake. A Jewish funeral has sitting shiva. A traditional Chinese funeral is something else entirely. Thats what the estranged siblings of the Chinese-American Xiao family must undergo upon news of their mothers death. The one brother and three sisters dont get along, however they share one thing: hatred for their domineering and manipulative mother, the Dragon Lady." Yet, as they honor her request for a traditional seven-day funeral, the siblings face an adventure of surprises, clashes, and unveiled secrets. In the end they learn about themselves, each other, their mother, forgiveness, and what it means to be Chinese. [D-Man2010]

    Estranged Chinese siblings return to their childhood home to pay tribute to their dead mother. They all had problems with her, but they honor her last wish: to be buried in a traditional Chinese… Estranged Chinese siblings return to their childhood home to pay tribute to their dead mother. They all had problems with her, but they honor her last wish: to be buried in a traditional Chinese funeral. As the ritual is underway, the brothers and sisters begin to reform their long-lost connections. [D-Man2010]


    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Josée Bernard known as co-executive producer
    • Tom Berry known as executive producer
    • Cheryl Cowan known as line producer: second unit (as Cheryl Cowen)
    • Ray Cuerdo known as executive producer
    • Jeffery Scott Lando known as producer (as Jeffery Lando)
    • Donald Martin known as executive producer
    • Andrew Ooi known as co-executive producer
    • Clark Peterson known as executive producer
    • Andrew Reimer known as executive producer (as Andy Reimer)
    • Stefan Wodoslawsky known as executive producer

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Bai Ling known as Dede
    • Steph Song known as Meimei
    • Talia Shire known as Viola
    • Russell Wong known as Alexander
    • Kelly Hu known as Cindy
    • Julia Nickson known as Elizabeth
    • Lisa Lu known as Mrs Xiao
    • Françoise Yip known as Victoria
    • Tseng Chang known as Chow Lin
    • Adrian Hough known as Michael
    • Valerie Tian known as Emily
    • Isaah Brown known as Jason
    • Curtis Lum known as Bruce
    • Lili Lau known as Diva
    • Donald Fong known as Mr Wang
    • Crystal Lowe known as Jane
    • Chhultim Sherpa known as Monk 1
    • Terry Chen known as Funeral Store Owner
    • Geoff Gustafson known as Larry
    • Grace Fatkin known as Mrs Sun
    • Ed Hong-Louie known as Elderly Man (as Ed Hong Louie)
    • BJ Harrison known as Woman at Funeral



    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Jennifer Beebe known as makeup swing
    • Paula Demille known as assistant hair stylist
    • Jullin Hadden known as key hair stylist
    • Kathy Howatt known as key makeup artist (as Kathleen Howatt)
    • Lili Lau known as makeup artist: "Diva"
    • Jess Luka known as hair swing
    • Amy Pang known as assistant makeup artist

    Art Department:

    • Keith Bakker known as set dresser (as Keith 'The Master' Bakker)
    • Alex Kutschera known as property master
    • Mark Lane known as lead dresser
    • Michelle Pitney known as assistant set decorator
    • Susy Tavares known as buyer
    • John Wilcox known as paint coordinator
    • Martin Wing known as assistant property master
    • Jim Wyber known as set dresser




    Production Companies:

    • Reel One Entertainment (presents)
    • Dim Sum Productions (produced by)
    • Movie Network, The (TMN) (this film was produced with the participation of) (as M The Movie Network – Astral Media Networks)
    • Super Écran (this film was produced with the participation of) (as SÉ Super Écran – Astral Media Networks)
    • Astral Media (with the participation of)
    • Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC (this film was produced with the participation of)
    • Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) (this film was produced with the participation of)
    • Movie Central Network (produced in association with) (as Movie Central A Corus Entertainment Company)
    • Corus (in association with)

    Other Companies:

    • 1-900 Costumes  the producers wish to thank
    • Airwaves Sound Design  adr recording facility: Vancouver
    • Buddha International Accessories  the producers wish to thank
    • Church Audio  adr recording facility: Los Angeles
    • DGC  acknowledgment (as DGC Directors Guild of Canada)
    • Entertainment Partners Canada  payroll services (as EP Canada)
    • Focus Entertainment Insurance Brokers  insurance broker (as Focus Entertainment Brokers Inc.)
    • I.A.T.S.E. Local 669  acknowledgment (as I.A.T.S.E. 669 International Photographers Canada)
    • Mintage Vintage  the producers wish to thank
    • National Bank of Canada  the producers wish to thank
    • Nettwerk Apparel  the producers wish to thank: for ChuloPony
    • Obakki Designs  the producers wish to thank
    • Paladin Show Services  lighting and grip equipment
    • Paladin Show Services  the producers wish to thank
    • Panavision  camera equipment
    • Parallel Rentals  the producers wish to thank
    • Robert & Stahl  legal services by (as Roberts & Stahl)
    • Screen Actors Guild (SAG)  acknowledgment
    • Shiang Garden Seafood Restaurant  the producers wish to thank
    • Union of B.C. Performers  acknowledgment (as UBCP)
    • Writers Guild of Canada  acknowledgment


    • Home Box Office Home Video (HBO) (2009) (USA) (DVD)
    • Indies Home Entertainment (20??) (Netherlands) (DVD)



    Other Stuff

    Release Date:
    • USA November 2008 (AFI Fest)
    • Canada 2009
    • USA 25 April 2009 (Newport Beach International Film Festival)
    • USA 12 June 2009 (limited)
    • USA 21 July 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • Russia 15 March 2010 (DVD premiere)

    MPAA: Rated R for brief drug use and sexuality



    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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    Posted on March 31, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , .


    1. dluu81 from United States
      31 Mar 2012, 12:17 am

      i came into this movie not really expecting much probably because I'veseen a lot of Asian American films that ended up disappointing. thatwasn't to be the case this time. dim sum funeral has a lot of stuffgoing for it. i found the family interactions pretty believable anduniversal (im Chinese American btw), the story had many plot lines andwhile yes, it could get somewhat episodic, there are actually manyHollywood movies that fall into this structure too and that's thenature of life, isn't it? throughout the movie, i was prettyentertained and didn't look at the time and felt myself caring for thecharacters which is the greatest compliment one can pay a story. i alsoabsolutely loved the music. the simple piano music really reminded meof the east Asian aesthetic in films and the film became "more Asian"as a result. also, it gave the movie a ethereal and fleeting qualityperfect for a movie about death and life. and i don't know how they gother but talia shire is wonderful in the film. it's really great to seeher back and it was fun looking to see if the actors would beintimidated by her stature which they weren't. really, all the maincharacters and even bai ling which i normally cant stand do quiteadmirably.

      all in all, dim sum funeral was a very nice, elegant and heartfeltsurprise and i recommend it. 8 out of 10.

    2. Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
      31 Mar 2012, 12:17 am

      The lesbian actress Meimei (Steph Song), the doctor Alexander (RussellWong), the real state agent Elizabeth (Julia Nickson) and thejournalist Victoria (Françoise Yip) are contacted by Viola (TaliaShire) that tells that their mother Ms. Lingy "Lynda" Xiao (Lisa Lu)had died. The Chinese-American siblings head to Seattle with theirfamilies where their mother's assistant Viola tells that her last wishwas a seven-day Chinese funeral with her dysfunctional family.Meanwhile, the stranger pianist and Tai Chi Chun follower Chow Lin(Chang Tseng) arrives from Beijing for the funeral. Along the nextdays, Meimei and her partner Dede Chan (Bai Ling) try to get sperm fromthe monk Bruce (Curtis Lum), and Viola delivers a letter from hermother telling the truth about her father. Alex tries to reconcile withhis wife and former Miss Taiwan Cindy (Kelly Hu). Liz still grieves theloss of her son Sammy and is not ready to return to her husband Michael(Adrian Hough). On the sixth day of the funeral, the siblings have ahuge surprise.

      "Dim Sun Funeral" has a potential story about a dysfunctional familywith estranged siblings, loss of traditions, bitterness andreconciliation with many wealthy characters. Unfortunately the directorAnna Chi makes a poor work and the plot becomes a melodramatic andsometimes boring Chinese-American soap opera, lost between the comedyand the heavy drama. Anyway, there are many interesting values andtraditions from the Chinese culture and it is worthwhile watching thismovie at least once. My vote is six.

      Title (Brazil): "Meu Último Desejo" ("My Last Wish")

    3. maryszd from United States
      31 Mar 2012, 12:17 am

      Dim Sum Funeral is about a family of estranged siblings who findthemselves having to get back together in the process of planning theirmother's funeral. In doing so, they all stop fighting and learn toaccept each other. This is a charming film in some ways, but itsdepiction of sibling rivalry is not realistic. In a truly dysfunctionalfamily, which this family purports to be, occasions like weddings andfunerals are not times to come together, they're times to wage furtherwarfare. And once things like wills and inheritances are thrown in, thefur starts to fly. This would have been a better and morepsychologically true movie if the siblings continued to be estrangedfrom each other at the movie's end; it would have shown the difficultyof healing childhood wounds and the essential loneliness that adultswho've had an unhappy childhood carry throughout their lives.

    4. tonghua2005 from Canada
      31 Mar 2012, 12:17 am

      I guess whoever made this movie wanted something like Chinese version"Two Weeks" but with more twist, more dramatic, and they so did that,terribly!

      From the beginning, all the family members hated their mother so much,dislike each other so much, and as the days goes by, they start tolearn to celebrate life? why? because the memory from the childhood?but what made them hated their mother, stopped talking to each other?isn't that the same childhood? As the story plays along, instead ofrevealing the reason why they become so bitter, the big twist kicks in,even though nothing above was ever explained, the twist made meunderstood why they hate their mother so much, but strangely, all ofthe sudden, instead hating her like I felt, they all start loving theirmother,loving each others, then everyone start happily eating funeralDim Sim. Is this a joke?

      Overall, the story line is awful, I would give it a 0 if I could, theonly reason I gave it a 2 is that some of the actors are decent(not BaiLing, she does not how to act at all in this film)

      Oh, another funny thing is, when the mother went to Hongkong, it saidthat she was 16, which is in 1960s, so she will be 63 the most by 2008,then the age of all the roles can't add up, so they got a 81 yrs old toplay the mother role, wired huh? or is this a movie about future?

    5. Mikel Koven from Worcester, UK
      31 Mar 2012, 12:17 am

      It's rare for me to post anything about a bad movie, particularly oneI've not even finished watching yet, but my gods this is a dreadfulflick. Self-righteous, preachy, maudlin, clichéd and simplyembarrassing rip-off of the much superior Joy Luck Club. I'm justwaiting for someone to cry out in anguish "Mom loved you best!" Notsure how long I can actually keep my dinner down for…

      "Tradition. It's important" "Yes. It is."

      I approached this film thinking there might be some interestingethnographic material about ethnic Chinese funeral customs, but whenone of the daughters who is lesbian, approached one of the officiatingmonks about being a sperm donor so she and her partner can conceive,and then he produces a turkey baster filled with 'monk spunk' and therealization he is not cut out to be a monk…

      And the final plot twist of the film … why? At what point did a grownperson think, "hey- this is a good idea".

      Truly a remarkable entry in the slop bucket of contemporary cinema.

    6. whall005 from United States
      31 Mar 2012, 12:17 am

      First of all, let me begin by saying that I am appalled by criticreviews of this movie. Describing the film as 'predictable' andinvolving a 'typical Chinese-American family' is an insult to the castand crew. There is nothing typical about this Chinese-American family.Seeing as how many film critics are introverted white Americans, it iseasy for them to forget that these people have very different valuesthan other Americans. To be able to critique this movie fairly, youmust know a good deal about Asian culture on the whole. The'predictable' twists that occur may be typical of your average Americanfamily–but in Asian families, it is more of a rarity.

      Needless to say, I was quite surprised at some of the revelations thechildren had about their deceased mother, especially considering thefact she was born and raised in China. These revelations give a morehuman feel to the rigid culture of the Chinese, and give the moviesubstance.

      Asian intolerance of infidelity, interracial marriage, andhomosexuality is also explored in depth. This part of the moviepersonifies the characters before they even speak more than a fewlines, and helps humanize the 'Dragon Lady' over the course of themovie. There is much more that I could say about this movie, but Ibelieve I've said enough to offer a conclusion: As Americans, we don'tgenerally put much thought into ideas like homosexuality, interracialmarriage, and infidelity. Its all around us–and we become numb to it.But these ideas can become catalysts for mayhem in Asian families,where such ideas are shunned or outright forbidden. Understanding thisfact will help you understand–and enjoy–the movie.

    7. filmgal24 from United States
      31 Mar 2012, 12:17 am

      I completely agree with the other reviews panning this movie. It's tooboring to be a pop movie and too stupid to be a serious one. You mayhang in there despite the fact that the characters are so unlikeable(particularly the dead woman) and insipid, you may multi-task throughthe cringe-worthy dialogue, press pass the predictable sequence ofevents (though there's no one to root for, no one to motivate any senseof engagement), all the while thinking, there must be one kernel ofnovel insight or characterization, something that would justify makinga whole movie. Particularly as a Chinese – American, you hope for thiskind of thing to succeed and to derive something interesting andrelevant to your own life and experience. But somehow it manages to getless interesting, to get bafflingly superficial as though the divinemuses at Disney had intervened to demand a more pat and sociable plot.At the start, the problems at least have the potential to beinteresting though very predictable and thoroughly explored in otherbetter films. I was vaguely intrigued by the thorough unlikeability ofthe mother, all the other films had provided the parent's perspective(for example, why destroying a daughter's relationship with the love ofher life because he's black may actually be understandable or have someredeeming rationale; and showing acts of love by the parent for thechild that reveals the parent's humanity, their own resistance to theshackles of culture) – was this a new take? alas, no. The siblingsbegin to cooperate in the "last wishes" of their mother out of what isclearly guilt, and from no where that guilt is transformed into honestgrief, respect and love, like blood into wine. There's very littleexploration of the reasons for the hatred by the children. Butpresumably, like in real life, it was failure to do the things thatactually inspire honest grief, respect and love – like being there andhelping the eldest daughter through the loss of her son (my mom wouldsimply have come to me and camped out indefinitely), sending a presentfor her black grandson's birthday or attending her granddaughter'srecital. It's not clear to me why death would absolve a mother from herduty in such acts of forgiveness and love, in my experience, death iswhen a miserable bastard really pays the piper. This felt uncomfortablylike the work of someone who couldn't stand their mother but feltreally guilty about it.

    8. right left from United States
      31 Mar 2012, 12:17 am

      This movie tries desperately to be in so many other movies footstepsthat it just winds up tripping all over itself. This movie isessentially The Joy Luck Club's, Ugly Twin Sister. Although the writingis bad, it's not completely a mess. I do like that it tries to showthat Chinese Americans are progressive in American society, but itnever departs from some serious jingoistic dialog that seems borrowedfrom a bag of fortune cookies. The Family is actually a bore, but thewriter thinks that by making one a lesbian, and another marry a BlackMan would make them more interesting. Also, having all the non-familymembers play completely humble, somewhat quirky, incrediblyunderstanding, and knowledgeable to the family's "attitude" is justunbelievable. The Directing is somewhat amateurish but better than someChinese Soap Serials. The actors are all so stiff in their performances- I've seen better performances with claymation. On the bright side,Russle Wong's acting has improved just enough to be the bestperformance in the whole movie – that's bad.

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