‘Grace Lee’ and company

Special to The Times

“Does any other name scream out ‘generic Asian girl’ like Grace Lee?” asks director Grace Lee, who embarks on “The Grace Lee Project” in search of what makes Grace Lees tick, what their common name means in the wide, wide world of Asian American womanhood and how one distinguishes oneself in a vast sea of Lees. What she finds is good for her and good for us -- a journey of realization for anyone who’s ever felt lost in the crowd.

Lee, who grew up thinking herself unique in Missouri, learned after relocating to New York and California that Asian Americans existed in rather large numbers and that many of them seemed to be named Grace Lee. With good, if begrudging, humor, Lee catalogs the Grace Lees everyone she talked to seemed to know -- all of whom seem to meet a standard set of undistinguished characteristics: They are all smart, petite and “nice.”

But in her hunt for other Grace Lees, the director also finds a series of remarkable women, such as Grace Lee Boggs, an octogenarian social activist in the black community of Detroit, and Grace Lee, a pastor’s wife who lives the tenets of her faith to the fullest.


Our director, of course, finds in the end that there’s a lot to be said for being Grace Lee -- especially when one is in such splendid company.


‘The Grace Lee Project’

MPAA rating: Unrated

A Women Make Movies release. Director Grace Lee. Producers Grace Lee, Amy Ferraris. Editor Amy Ferraris. Running time: 1 hour, 8 minutes.

Exclusively at the Fairfax Cinemas, 7907 Beverly Blvd., at Fairfax Avenue. (323) 655-4010