Saving Face

"Very Good"

Saving Face Review


Because it's playing in the art house circuit and most of the dialogue is Chinese, Saving Face isn't going to make a dime. Too bad: It's a pleasant romantic comedy (produced by Will Smith) with a few tweaks thrown in: a lesbian couple here, a pregnant 48-year-old there. The movie gives the formula a good shake, without being faux edgy or having the charm fall to the bottom.

Wil (Michelle Krusiec) is a young surgeon not feeling New York's liberal vibe. Her widowed mother (a long-lost Joan Chen) hounds Wil to find a husband, working her circuit of gossipy Chinese friends to find suitors. For Wil, a lesbian, it's a waste of time except that in her tradition-abiding family, she must do what is expected.

Turns out her mom doesn't practice what she preaches. Pregnant and thrown out of the house by her shamed father, the mother-to-be invades Wil's apartment. As mom is decorating the living room and cleaning out the refrigerator, Wil gets a crush on Vivian (Lynn Chen), her boss's beautiful daughter. Flirting blooms into a full-blown relationship and soon Wil and her mom face a life-altering moment: Do they save face and do what's considered "right" in their exported culture, or do they make themselves happy?

The movie is strongest when dealing with the angles of this question, such as Wil's decision to stay the night at Vivian's, or her mother going on a series of appropriate dates with losers and weirdoes, while her illicit love waits and wants. The real poignancy in director Alice Wu's script -- which floats above some repetitive moments and misplaced speeches --is how both women lead the same life, though neither would admit it. Their network of family and friends is so obtrusive and judgmental that neither woman can live her own life. Wil is afraid of being herself; her mother's life is so restricted that, to her, leaving Queens is a journey that would intimidate Columbus. Krusiec and Joan Chen excel at bringing out their characters' uncertainty, while Lynn Chen's winning performance makes Wil's decision that much harder.

In its examination of the mother-daughter dynamic, Saving Face could be compared to The Joy Luck Club. The big difference is that Saving Face is far sunnier; its lessons are cushioned by a chuckle, a twist, and a neat homage to The Graduate. In her feature debut, Wu shows romantic comedies can be more than a Cole Porter soundtrack and snappy comebacks. They can offer a different ethnicity, the same sex, and an issue or two to consider.

The DVD adds a director's commentary, deleted scenes, and two behind-the-scenes vignettes.

Save this chimney!



Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th September 2005

Box Office USA: $1.0M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Fresh: 72 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.