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November 29, 2022

Austin Film Festival review: ‘Golden Delicious’ explores an Asian-Canadian teen’s coming out

Social media makes things much worse for the main character, Jake

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“Golden Delicious” has a lot of the standard ingredients in a coming-out tale: attraction, then confusion, then hiding and then accepting. But it has a few differences that are notable. One of the two gay teenage guys is a basketball star who is out and proud, while the other is in a relationship with a girl.

Chris Carson plays Aleks, the out teen who moves in across the street from Jake, played by Cardi Wong. Jake’s girlfriend, Valerie (Parmiss Sehat) is pushing to take their relationship to the next level, but Jake says he wants to wait until marriage. He reassures her of his feelings by saying he “will be hers forever” — repeatedly.

But that’s simply not the case, as Jake slowly realizes. He tries out for the basketball team to be closer to Aleks, and the attraction becomes noticeable.

All of this takes place in Vancouver, in an Asian-Canadian community. Jake’s family owns the nearby restaurant, Golden Delicious, and both his father George (Ryan Mah) and mother Andrea (Leeah Wong) work there.

While Jake struggles with his attraction to Aleks, he continues to court Valerie, which is obviously way unfair to her. So we know where this is probably headed.



In the meantime, Jake and his mother find out that George is having and affair, and the family foundation that Jake thought was secure starts to crumble.

Wong gives a standout performance as the troubled Jake, but Carson steals most of the scenes focusing on the two of them — adding some much-needed sass and levity.

This is directorial feature debut from Jason Karman, a gay Chinese immigrant to Canada. It’s based on a screenplay by Gorrman Lee.

Both the director and writer are exploring not only coming out but also the sometimes toxic effect of social media. Private moments can become public quite quickly, to devastating effect. In that regard, “Golden Delicious” merits attention.

It is not, however, an especially nuanced view of coming out, sometimes veering into melodrama. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with melodrama.

“Golden Delicious” had its Texas premiere Oct. 28 at the Austin Film Festival. It screens again at 5:30 p.m., Nov. 1. The screeners are in partnership with AGLIFF. For those without a festival badge, single tickets will become available 20 minutes before the screening, depending on availability. See austinfilmfestival.com/festival-and-conference-aff/2022-full-film-schedule/


Charles Ealy
Charles Ealy
Charles Ealy is a former movies editor for The Dallas Morning News and Austin American-Statesman.

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