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Saving Face (R)

Release Date: May 27th, 2005 (NYC-AMC Empire 25 and Angelika Film Center). by Sony Pictures Classics.
The Cast: Joan Chen,Michelle Krusiec,Lynn Chen

BASIC PREMISE: An Chinese-American mother (Joan Chen) must find herself a father for her unborn child while her daughter is a lesbian who is falling for her boss's daughter.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The wonderfully-written script is the best part of this film because it brings out a lot of humor in unexpected situations while maintaining an engaging, serious drama. Joan Chen as the mother who desperately searches for a husband gives a very strong performance. But the real surprise here is Michelle Krusiec and Lynn Chen, who both play off of each other in a very comical way. Obviously, they eventually share a sex scene together--so, yes, there is nudity. What makes this film most interesting is the parallel crises of the mother and daughter. Both are stuck in a situation that goes against their cultural tradition. The plot could have been much heavier and difficult to watch, but because of the combination of the witty script, good cinematography, and pleasant soundtrack, it is light and easy to follow. There is just one scene that will raise eyebrows because of the racism when the mother wants to give a paper plate to her daughter's African-American friend. Racism is not funny, so the dinner scene just feels too insulting and mean-spirited.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The budding relationship between the daughter and her boss's daughter is very touching and thought-provoking, especially because of how different their families are. The boss's daughter's family accepts her lesbianism while her family doesn't. This causes a lot of friction and fights when it comes to how public they can be with their relationship. Eventually, both of them have to sacrifice a lot for to save their relationship. It is very inspiring to watch each woman, even the mother, become stronger and more understanding. They are all going through their own crises and it uplifting to join their journey to overcome their hardships and rebel against their cultural traditions.



THE BOTTOM LINE: A surprisingly light-hearted, well-acted, beautifully-written Chinese-American film. Regardless of your nationality, anyone can relate to and even laugh at the situations in this film.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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