Angie Wang is a warrior in life and made a daring artistic contribution sharing parts of her college year life trying to cope with family and money issues and achieve academic, romantic, economic and human success.
Angie X, played perfectly by Annie Q, is a romanticized version of an angry, conflicted but smart, sexy and resourceful youth that comes to a collage where her first generation immigration and social class makes her adaptation more adventurous.
The casting choices, camera work, wardrobe and sets to match the 80s feel all seem right and we are able to do what director Wang, asked us the the start of her Mnotreal Worl Film Festival first screening: immerse ourselves in the movie and be transported.
After an hour and a half in the theatre, that felt much longer in terms of content, but also timeless and not wanting the movie to end and leave these likable characters and their quirky lives.
The only personal choices I felt could have been better are the over-expression of anger which I later learned are Angie's character traits and constant reaction based on her past and way to deal with pressure, as well as some occasional superfluous flashbacks that did not always work to enhance the scenes and character development. Everything else about this independent film written, directed and produced by Angie Wang with a great deal of passion and perseverance is pristine and palpable.
Angie is contrasted by her two best friends, a Chinese American boy classmate and an "All American" rich girl roommate and their respective families. They have different views and values but lots of love, attention and affection for Angie. She also has her own distant parents and brother, especially her father figure. We see her dysfunctional family through flashbacks and she also decides to be a big sister to an even more dysfunctional crack addict family.
Angie becomes a drug-dealer of a then legal party drug for rich kids "White" kids (MDNA/Ecstasy) - and becomes a master chemist like Walter White - which affects lives around here in different ways. In parallel, and paradoxically, she also tries to rescue a "Black" little sister affected by lower class street drugs, both legal (alcohol and cigarettes) and illegal (crack).
Angies tries to find respect and pleasure in school and social settings with her grades, her drugs and romantic interests. A particular sex scene is quite alluring and seems natural, beautiful, beneficial.
The ending which follows a particular dramatic denouement is sad and hopeful, open and soft-spoken. It lets the viewer know that life is not perfect, but life goes on. The best advice, story and point of view comes from her father Michael, played with gusto by Ron Yuan.
This film is a well worth addictive addition to the drug dealer movie for the low, middle and upper class, college student and parents alike.
Bravo Angie! Looking forward to a following project from this fine first time filmmaker.
USA 2017 | 94 mins | MONTREAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL | English