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Saving Face
Saving Face
Actors: Joan Chen, Michelle Krusiec, Lynn Chen, Jin Wang, Guang Lan Koh
Director: Alice Wu
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
R     2005     1hr 31min

When 48-year-old widow Hwei-Lan Gao (Joan Chen) informs her less-than understanding father she's pregnant, he banishes her from Flushing until she remarries or proves Immaculate Conception. With nowhere else to go, Hwei-La...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Joan Chen, Michelle Krusiec, Lynn Chen, Jin Wang, Guang Lan Koh
Director: Alice Wu
Creators: Alice Wu, Bergen Swanson, James Lassiter, Jeff Morin, John Penotti, Robin O'Hara, Scott Macaulay
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Romantic Comedies, Love & Romance
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/18/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, French

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Member Movie Reviews

Jerry C. (jctea) from METAIRIE, LA
Reviewed on 3/4/2012...
Very smart, funny & sexy. A good flick.

Movie Reviews

MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 05/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"My 48 year old mother is pregnant, has shown up at my doorstep with a suitcase and to top it off I have just discovered the joys of what am I going to do?
Ma is like an alien in NYC though she has lived in Flushing Queens for years in that she speaks no English and has lived in the insular confines of her parent's home. That is until her father throws her out for not naming the father of her unborn child.
Wilhelmina (Michelle Krusiec) is a surgeon, has a very nice apartment in the Lower East Side of NYC and likes Women. She has almost no free time to date, is always at the hospital working and to put it bluntly: Ma showing up on her doorstep asking for shelter is an say the least.
But, in Alice Wu's "Saving Grace" this "imposition" naturally evolves into a re-connection between Wil and her mother that also blossoms into a deeply loving and respectful relationship. Wu, who also wrote as well as directs here has fashioned a film that steers clear of the chasm of melodrama and sentimentality that often plagues this type of scenario with her crisp dialogue, acidic wit and precise directing of the mise en scene.
The character of Ma is played by the hauntingly beautiful Joan Chen and in Chen's hands Ma transcends her physical and social limitations and becomes a full-bodied, open-hearted person: ready for the prospect of really living,ready to give birth and not afraid of the future and maybe even finding a father for her baby.
"Saving Grace" is very wise, it is extremely charming and it is ultimately poignant in the manner of "The Joy Luck Club" or "Hanging Up." It is obvious that Wu shared a wonderful relationship with her Mother and this film stands as the ultimate Love Poem to that relationship.
I've looked at life from both sides now
Junglies | Morrisville, NC United States | 10/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a rather cute romantic comedy set in the Chinese community in one section of New York about a widowed mother who discovers that she is pregnant and who prefers not to disclose who the father of the unborn child is.

To complicate matters, her daughter is a successful doctor who has great potential in her chosen profession who does not have the time or apparent inclination to seek out a mate for herself.

The choice of New York as the backdrop for this tale is symbolic in the city's role as a gateway to the new world. The tale itself is replete with contrasts of new versus old culture, old family forms and authority structures versus the new, old versus new cultures etc. In one scene mother and daughter are having two conversations with|not with each other: the mother addresses her daughter in Chinese, the daughter addresses her mother in English.

As the movie proceeds the viewer is drawn into the tale almost imperceptibly so much so that one begins to empathise with each of the characters rather than take sides. Joan Chen is in superb form as the restrained mother, keeping her secret but managing all the while to maintain face for the family name. Her cautious daughter, torn as it were, between old and new, is often uncertain about the direction in which to go but which ultimately achieves resolution in the final scene.

This is a story of love and life cutting across conventional and cultural boundaries. The tale is told in a gentle and charming way, lending poise to the proceedings and allowing for the possibility for change to be affected by the rather revolutionary actions of an individual and for gradual but significant cultural changes to occur which are, in their own way rather monumental.

The movie kept my attention throughout and although there are a number of minor issues which drew my attention I did not find them sufficently distracting to disturb my enjoying. Although lightweight in a way it is a pleasant experience which throws some light on a number of important social issues. Although my 11 year old son was disinclined towatch my fifteen year old daughter enjoyed the movie and was comfortable with the issues exposed.

Good stuff."
Funny and poignant
Erica Anderson | Minneapolis, MN | 06/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I recently had the immense pleasure of seeing "Saving Face" a few days ago. I must say it is refreshing to see a Chinese film where the writing is consistent and good as is the acting. What makes "Saving Face" even more special is that two of the main characters Wil (Michelle Krusiec) and Vivian (Lynn Chen)are lovers. To see two Asian women as lovers on the big screen is quite the momentous occasion for Asian and homsexual people alike.

The film takes place in Flushings, New York. Wil is a surgical resident who is forced to take in her mother Ma (Joan Chen), a 48 year old widow, when it is revealed that she is pregnant and refuses to tell her father who the father of her unborn child is. Ma is disowned therefore ends up moving in with Wil. This happens just right around the time when Wil meets Vivian (Lynn Chen) and begins to fall for her.

I found the writing of the film very consistent and does a good job of covering all the bases from Wil's relationships with both Ma and Vivian. This is the first Chinese film that I have seen in a year where the writing is consistent (unlike "Hero" and "The House of Flying Daggers"). I thought Wil's struggle to try to decide to either follow her heart or to conform to the expectations of her family. She eventually makes that decision in the film. While the question of who was the father of Ma's unborn child was in the film, the issue did not take front burner and was merely part of the overall scheme of the film for both Ma and Wil which was to be happy or to conform to their Chinese roots which basically is the overall storyline of the film. Ma and Wil have to decide to whether to deny their happiness by conforming to their Chinese roots or to embrace the personal happiness they had discovered.

All the actors put in excellent performances. Joan Chen was extremely funny as Ma. Her scene in the video store was quite funny. I also loved her comments about Wil's neighbor Jay when he comes over for dinner. She is unapologetic and yet honest but Jay doesn't know what she is saying since Ma doesn't speak english. While it does seem unbelievable that Wil is a surgeon in training, somehow the idea works thanks to Michelle Krusiec. Lynn Chen simply shines in this film as the stunning ballerina Vivian.

As an Asian woman, I am thrilled to see a film that focuses around Asians hit the theatres. I am even more thrilled that the writing is excellent as were the performances. While I do not go for romantic comedies in general, "Saving Face" is one of the few romantic comedies that I enjoyed."