VIFF Film Review - Golden Delicious (2022)

Still image of the lead character Jake in Golden Delicious, standing on a sports field.

I always talk about how much I love VIFF because you get to see films from all over the world, incredible documentaries, and movies covering important topics. VIFF also gives a platform to local talent and I’m always stoked to see films made right here in our city. “Golden Delicious” is a Vancouver made film and the first feature from director Jason Karman, producer Kristyn Stilling, and writer Gorrman Lee. It’s a film that is groundbreaking because it tells the coming out story of an Asian Canadian teenager in present day Vancouver.

Right before Jake starts his last year of high school and basketball tryouts he injures his throwing hand playing a game of one-on-one with his overzealous father. Jake is disheartened that he might not make tryouts as it’s his last chance to play on the team and he doesn’t want to disappoint his father who was a basketball star when he was a kid. Jake is also dealing with pressure from his longtime girlfriend to take their relationship to the next level. It’s a lot of stress for a young man who just wants to be happy and enjoy his last year of secondary school. Jake’s parents work tirelessly at his father’s family restaurant and his older sister Janet is following her dream of being a chef and recreating their grandmother’s lost recipes. It seems everyone in Jake's family has a lot on their plate. 

The only joy Jake seems to get these days is from taking pictures. From his bedroom window he notices a young man has moved in across the street and snaps a photo of him. He quickly forms a friendship with this new neighbour and classmate Aleks who is openly and unapologetically gay. Aleks is also a basketball player and helps Jake practice with his opposite hand. You can almost immediately see the internal conflict Jake is having as he realizes he’s attracted to Aleks. The pressure builds further for Jake as his world is about to change drastically in many ways. I won’t say anymore ‘cause I don’t want to spoil the story for you. You’ll just have to catch it at VIFF!

“Golden Delicious” highlights so many important themes; coming out in an Asian family and in a time when social media can do more harm than good, the pressure Asian Canadian teens still feel from their parents to follow a path they didn’t necessarily choose, and most importantly this film gives Asian Canadian stories the spotlight they deserve as they are stories that are still underrepresented in film and TV. I loved this film so much and I hope you get the chance to see it premiering at VIFF October 5.

The 41st Vancouver International Film Festival runs September 29 – October 9.

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