Friday 15th December 2017,

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Asian American Mom Struggles to Understand Gay Son in ‘Eat With Me’

posted by Randall
Teddy Chen Culver

Teddy Chen Culver

The Asian American family comedy Eat With Me is now available on DVD for the first time.

Released by Wolfe Video, Eat With Me is the story of unconditional love between a son and his mother as she adjusts to the reality of having a gay son.

It stars Sharon Omi as mom Emma, Teddy Chen Culver as her son Elliot , Aidan Bristow as Elliot’s boyfriend Ian, Nicole Sullivan, who many will remember from the show The King of Queens, as  Elliot’s neighbor Emma, and includes a special appearance by George Takei as himself.

Teddy Chen Culver & Aidan Bristow

Teddy Chen Culver & Aidan Bristow

“The arc of Emma’s journey in the film begins with her having a hard time communicating her feelings to people around her,’ said writer/director David Au to AsAmNews via email.  “That’s why her way of dealing with uncomfortable issues like her son’s sexuality is more internal than external. That way, she doesn’t have to come face to face with the issues as she hopes that they will go away somehow. However, the reality is that actually worsens the situation and causes more friction with her son. I find that struggle absolutely fascinating and it gives the character arc the depth that it needs.”

Throughout the film, Emma struggles with her thoughts and feelings. She never verbalizes them, but the tension can be seen in her facial expressions and body language. The film opens in the bedroom when Emma is awaken by her husband who is clearly unhappy. Emma knows something isn’t right, but chooses to stay silent.

The pattern continues when Emma surprises her son by visiting him at his restaurant.

“There are just some things everyone would rather not talk about,” said Omi about her character.   “So we just ignore the problems until they begin to poison our relationships and then we still try to ignore them.  Things are blowing up right and left and we keep trying to pretend that everything is all right.  You’ve been buttoned down for so long that it is difficult to know your own feelings and you become afraid to confront your truths.  Emma is a character trying to maintain a calm exterior under REALLY trying conditions.  She’s a time bomb.”

Emma meets next door neighbor Maureen and the two strike a friendship despite a big difference in their age. One of Omi’s favorite scenes in the film is when Maureen accidentally gives Emma the drug ecstasy.

Sharon Omi & Nicole Sullivan

Sharon Omi & Nicole Sullivan

“Even though Maureen is her opposite, Emma is drawn to her generosity and her openness,” said Omi.   “Maureen has the kind of life that Emma fantasizes about – a life where there are no limits or inhibitions.  I also think that Emma is lonely and Maureen is the one person who offers her friendship and a place to hang – sometimes that’s all it takes!”

Au describes his film as “an Asian American woman’s journey of discovering who she is as an individual at a later stage in her life.”  He also says Eat With Me is affirmation that “the coming out process doesn’t end when one comes

George Takei & Sharon Omi

George Takei & Sharon Omi

out to their love ones.”

As with so much in Asian culture, food becomes the bond that eases the tension between Emma and Elliot. Eat With Me is available at major retailers and through Wolfe On Demand, iTunes and Vimeo On Demand.



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