Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious is melodramatic molasses.  Each emotional beat, as sincere as they may be, can be seen coming from a mile away as they slowly roll their way towards the screen.  Personal epiphanies from the characters feel like déjà vu to movie goers who may be more than familiar with coming-of-age stories involving closeted teens becoming more in touch with who they are.

The advantage to Golden Delicious is that it offers a different perspective of a familiar conundrum.  Asian-Canadian high school senior Jake (Cardi Wong) is pressured by his father George (Ryan Mah) to pursue basketball and his girlfriend Valerie (Parmiss Sehat) is adamant to be more intimate.  However, Jake has felt the need to suppress his true feelings towards his future.  New student, Aleks (Chris Carson), challenges Jake to revaluate his worth.

Despite casting actors who look like college students posing as high schoolers, Golden Delicious initially grabbed my interest with its characters.  Unfortunately, the film gradually lost me when it started playing out the same story we’ve seen in similar teen dramas dealing with the same subject matter.  Now, as jaded as that may sound, Golden Delicious was easier to endure and understand with its demographic in mind.  Viewers who are having a hard time comprehending their own sexuality may find respite in director Jason Karman’s indie, as well as appreciate the empathy the movie is extending to them.  If the movie helps even one wayward movie goer, then the production’s efforts were all worth it. 

My impatience with Golden Delicious stems from repetition – both in Karman’s leisurely direction and the template qualities of Gorrman Lee’s writing.  The movie is presented in a cookie-cutter and bubbly manner that makes the movie feel as if it’s missing a degree of depth and uniqueness.  That doesn’t mean Golden Delicious needed to be more downbeat to work, but I expected it to have more weight than an afterschool special.  Maybe the filmmakers were more comfortable scaling back while discussing the pressures of a student closeting their homosexuality.  If so, then Golden Delicious needed to overcompensate with slickness and unapologetically edit down a baggy side story about George’s infidelity, and side stories about the ambitions of Jake’s sister Janet (Claudia Kai) and mother Andrea (Leeah Wong). 

There’s a way to make a safe, streamlined movie about this subject matter.  It takes skill and discipline and, unfortunately, the filmmakers behind Golden Delicious exhibit neither.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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