Patrick Wang / USA / 2011 / 169 min / English / color / 35mm / North American Premiere


Asian American cinema’s most striking debut in years, IN THE FAMILY is a singular work that kicks convention to the curb: a story set in Tennessee, with patient and unusual long takes, and a running time that can only be described as bold. The result is a transcendent experience that, with each surprise of aesthetic daring, achieves uncommon dramatic heights.

The film opens on the ordinary daily routines of an ordinary American family. Breakfast is served, and the young son Chip is whisked off to school. That the parents are two men, Joey (Patrick Wang) and Cody (Trevor St. John) is hardly the point – that is, until a tragedy that leaves Joey to raise Chip on his own, leading to a custody battle that challenges legal conventions, but not the audiences’ sympathies, thanks to Wang’s stirring performance as a most tender and wise father.

The resulting legal standoff is a thing of incredible sensitivity that never mocks the conservatism of the American South, but rather treats it as a living being constantly in search for the dignity of man. Discrimination, both racial and sexual, creeps just beneath the surface, but the brilliance of the film and its extraordinarily clever script is how one gay Asian American crusader fights for his son by being the most gentlemanly southern man in the entire film.

IN THE FAMILY pulls no dramatic shortcuts and makes no compromises. Out of respect to the reality of struggle, this is a civil rights drama with no miracles. The only miracle perhaps is that the film’s director, writer, producer, and lead actor is one man, Patrick Wang, who pulls off an unforgettable feat of unflinching filmmaking. –Brian Hu

Director Patrick Wang scheduled to appear.

Free Pre-screening Reception Happy Hour with Patrick Wang, 5:30-7:00pm at Maria Maria, hosted by APAs for Progress San Diego.

Co-presented by: Family Matters, KPBS, The Center, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress - San Diego Chapter


  • Director: Patrick Wang
  • Producer: Patrick Wang, Robert Tonino, Andrew van den Houten
  • Writer: Patrick Wang
  • Cast: Patrick Wang, Sebastian Banes, Trevor St. John


October 24, 2011 7:15 pm
Mission Valley UltraStar Cinemas