VIFF 2022: Golden Delicious

Directed by: Jason Karman
Distributed by: TBA

Written by Patrick Hao


Generational trauma rears its head again in this new Canadian film about a high schooler dealing with the expectations of his parents and his emerging sexual identity in “Golden Delicious.” Snark aside, “Golden Delicious” is not a bad film as much as it is an overdone one. Not only does it harken to Asian immigrant tropes, but queer coming-out-of-the-closet tropes as well. The combination, while earnest and sincere, is a film that has too much “been there done that.” 

The film follows high schooler Jake (Cardi Wong), completing his senior year of high school, and has a loving popular longtime girlfriend in Valerie (Parmiss Sehat). However, things are amiss because of his parents’ disintegrating relationship and the handsome gay basketball player (Chris Carson) that just moved across the street. If all of this sounds too familiar, there is a reason. The central themes of coming-of-age, latent and external homophobia amongst Jake’s peers, and the popular trope of Asian immigrant children, “Generational Trauma.” 

At least “Golden Delicious” is able to get by on the tenderness of its intentions. Although falling into the trappings of its indie drama genre, there is never a false note throughout the film. It is clear that Director Jason Karman and writer Gorrman Lee are drawing from personal experiences and that specificity of life is able to elevate the film above being a total anonymous indie drama. 

Jake straddles his own sense of identity, experimenting as he sees fit. The film takes the time to see him embark on trials and errors of the various identities that have been foisted upon him and those that suit him. It is no wonder that Jake’s preferred choice of artistic expression is photography, a medium that allows him to capture outward expression to the world. 

It is within this patience and empathy that the film is at its finest. Other characters in the film, like Jake’s parents, are afforded similar levels of empathy, but never have the time to become fully developed beyond how they serve the central character. It is when the film has to devote itself to a plot, to lessons, that the film seems to crater expectations of the films of its ilk. At its best, “Golden Delicious” is observational. At its worst, it is a generic indie drama. Too often it is the latter more than the former.

“Golden Delicious” Trailer

“Golden Delicious” was screened as part of the 2022 edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival.

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