Synopsis by Rebecca Flint Marx
The debut feature of Malaysian-born director Yen Tan, Happy Birthday is a drama whose five protagonists who share both the same birthday and similar demons that haunt their queer identity. There is Ron, a minister who wholeheartedly preaches the virtues of switching from gay to straight, but has a healthy appetite for gay porn; Tracy, a Taiwanese-born woman who is forced to conceal her lesbianism when she visits her conservative mother; Jim, a gay, overweight telemarketer who muffles his deep melancholy and low self-esteem with his voracious pitches for the weight loss program he is selling; Javed, a Pakistani man living in the U.S. with his American lover -- a gay porn actor -- who faces being deported back home to his estranged Islamic family; and Kelly, a young woman grappling with both her recent breakup with her girlfriend and her longlasting crush on her roommate. As their birthday nears, none of the characters approach it with anything that exactly resembles enthusiasm. Happy Birthday was screened at the 2002 Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
birthday, crush, daughter, deportation, homosexual, immigration, lesbianism, minister, mother, pornography, telemarketing