My Father was the centre of the family, and everybody tried to please him. My Mother loves me and everything goes well. I have no conflict whith her, so that’s not dramatic. Ang Lee
Why was I not offended by the portrayal of a stereotypically unpleasant old woman, mother and grandmother in Eat Drink Man Woman? Why was I not unsettled by a man marrying a woman as young as his daughters?
Viewing the film with a group or reading reviews did not help. No comments addressed the subject or, more seriously the subject of ageing.
How I would like to have the time to research and analyse this film frame by frame!…But on reflection only a few lines will do. It is Lee’s sense of fun, light touch, empathy and exceptional director’s skill in depicting ageing and family intergenerational differences that made the film so appealing. With the stuff of classical family melodrama, its violent outbursts and high emotional explosions, Lee constructs a film difficult to categorise. IMDB tries the usual genres: comedy, drama, romance but none singly or as a group, will fit. There is a past emotional trauma, a religious conversion, a pregnant teenager, a lover’s betrayal, the death of a friend, the loss of a paid for new apartment, students’ abuse of a teacher, and father/daughter conflict. For me the scenes featuring the old woman were pure farce, a genre I am partial to. The scene where the little girl takes orders for her mates’ school lunches is also hilarious. I find it impossible to be judgmental in this context.
The film is the last of Ang Lee’s trilogy called Father Knows Best – undoubtedly a man’s view point, but a very sensitive, fun and feel-good point of view…. It is constructed like a visual puzzle where small details are very significant and one needs to notice the clues that propel the narrative. The film deserves serious and time-consuming research and analysis that I will leave for the time being.