Sunday, June 11, 2006

Saving Face

Watched this movie recently (ok, not that recently.. last month) at the strong recommendation of my best friend. She was raving about it.

Saving Face
A Sony Classic movie
Cast: Joan Chen, Michelle Krusiec, Lynn Chen
Director: Alice Wu

Saving Face is about the Chinese community in America.
It's about contradiction, old and new, duties and expectation and

Wil (Michelle) is a young outstanding surgeon in Manhanttan. Wil is pretty and the right age to get married. Wil is also gay. Ma (Wil's mother) is a dutiful, traditional daughter. She is a widow. And she is also pregnant. She refuses to divulge the father's identity. So she is thrown out by grandpa till she becomes 'respectable' by marrying.
So Ma moves into Wil's place and promptly tries to rearrange Wil's life from the curtains to the food. But Will has just met Vivian (Lynn). If developing a relationship is hard, then developing a gay relationship on the quiet with a pregnant mother at home is almost impossible.
The only solution----- marry her mother off

The storyline isn't exactly new. Lee Ang has done something similar in The 'Wedding Banquet'. Of course his movie was from the gay men's point of view whereas 'Saving Face' focuses on the gay women's point of view.
But 'Saving Face' does deliver some surprises of its own.

It has enough laugh lines and touching scenes. The cast is refreshingly young but the acting was by means compromised. I was especially impressed with Joan Chen. Used to seeing her in serious, glamorous role, it was a surprising change to see her as a dowdy, comical, lonely, conservative and yet somewhat brave single woman. I especially like the scenes where she met the various suitors and was thoroughly interrogated by Wil in a reversal of mother-daughter roles.

I guess my little complaint would be that it was just a little too politically correct (though apparently it was deliberately meant to be so by the director).

From Wil's black neighbour, to Wil being a brilliant surgeon, right down to Ma's lover and the ending. Somehow, it lacks the conflict and the reality that exist in 'The Wedding Banquet'.

In 'The Wedding Banquet', there is a hint of sadness and a touch of 无奈, a sense of resignation, especially in the last scene when they were all looking at the wedding photos and as the parents walk away towards the plane to go home. In 'Saving Face', there was the 'happily ever after' fairy-tale end.... Personally I thought the last dance scene, 'as their eyes meet' was a little errr... cliche. Perhaps the director wanted to convey the message that things will be alright in the end... if one believes and tries hard enough. I guess it wouldn't do much harm to be more optimistic in life. : )

Still, it is an enjoyable movie and one that I would recommend.

Btw, Michelle has her own blogspot-
She looks completely different from her role as Wil in 'Saving Face'. ^^ Much more glamorous.

For other information related to Michelle and the movie, you can visit my friend, HYL's blog at Now & Zen. I think she's made many friends after watching this movie. Right, HYL?


yeelee said...

alamak!…you selling my blog for me huh? lol! now i'll be getting all sorts of attention on my once quiet zen (but not so zen anymore) blog!

honestly, knowing people from different parts of the world and from all walks of life has taught me a lot in the last few months. and getting to know people with different sexual orientation has definitely made me understand and empathise with mankind even more. you never know, a hundred years down the road, we may not have gender differentiation anymore. i should be able to know by my next life.

tiffany said...

errr... your blog has been more active than mine. Definitely not quiet.

So, you shouldn't be shock next time C and I tell you anything yeah? haha!

bb said...

ah... so this is SF your fren yeelee's been talking about in her blog. hee, in the beginning, i kept thinking it's San Francisco :p

sounds like a nice one to watch, thanks for the review.