The Art of Woo

95 minutes 35 mm 2001


The Art Of Woo's deceptively light and playful tone deals with some fascinating issues of identity, art and entertainment” (Take One)

“Full of carefully placed curveballs is Helen Lee's Canadian Film Centre-produced debut The Art of Woo, very much a "charming romantic comedy" unimaginable without the quotation marks. In other words, Breakfast at Tiffany's meets Cinderella meets Queen St. West. MuchMusic's Sook Yin-Li, somewhat beguiling, stars as Alessa Woo, a social climbing golddigger working at an art gallery who is being wooed by two unlikely half-brothers: Ben Crowchild (an often shirtless Adam Beach), an aspiring and very talented native artist who moves into the adjoining apartment, and the more visibly moneyed playboy Patrick (Joel Keller). Clever class and race complications notwithstanding, the film's Toronto in-jokes ultimately wear down as all the curves predictably turn back on themselves; it's less an original artwork than a lively reproduction.” (Mark Peranson, Globe and Mail)

“Toronto-based indie filmmaker Helen Lee spins this frothy romantic comedy about an ersatz glamour girl who unexpectedly gets what she wants. Concealing her working-class upbringing, young, ambitious Alessa Woo (Sook-Yin Lee) poses as a high-rolling Asian heiress, even though she lives in a decidedly low-end apartment and cannot even make the rent. Fortunately, the landlady's son, Steph, is sweet on her along with a bevy of other potential suitors, including Nathan (Don McKellar), a particularly dogged would-be boyfriend who has camped out on her doorstep. She rejects one and all because they do not meet up with her rather strict fiduciary standards. One day, talented native-Canadian artist Ben Crowchild (Adam Beach) moves into the adjacent apartment. Inevitably, the romantic sparks fly just as Alessa catches the eye of a fantastically wealthy bachelor. Will Alessa choose love over money? This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival.” (Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide)

“Alessa Woo is a beautiful and ambitious art curator living and dressing beyond her means. Hounded by rejected suitors she deems fiscally unsound, Alessa poses as a rich Asian heiress to catch her man of means. Her well-laid plans go awry when a struggling Native artist named Ben Crowchild moves into the apartment next door. Sharing an affinity for art and an adjoining bathroom, an undeniable chemistry begins to take hold. However, her enigmatic neighbour seems to have some secrets of his own. When her sister arrives with bad news from home, Alessa is forced to confront the differences between her dreams and real life.” ( description)

The Art of Woo Script

The Art of Woo Credits


Reviews & Articles:

Canadian Actress Wows in 'Art of Woo'
Mon, Sep 10, 2001, 10:09 PM PT (from zap2it website)

Interview with Helen Lee Features Interviews, October 21, 2001

Pitching Woo: Writer-director Helen Lee reveals the Art and magic behind her romantic comedy debut, by Pam Grady, Features Interviews, October 21, 2001,

The Art of Woo by Erin Oke, Exclaim! November 29, 2001

Lee makes feature debut with The Art of Woo, Playback Magazine, December 18, 2000

The art of Sook-Yin Lee by Fiona Hughes

Former VJ Sook-Yin Lee has starring role in The Art of Woo by Tom Lyons, Canadian Press

The Art Of Woo an incomplete study By Liz Braun

The Art of Woo by Liz Czach
(Program note for Toronto International Festival)

The Feature Film Project selects THE ART OF WOO for development