Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Movie Log: Saving Face

Saving Face is just your garden variety lesbian Chinese-American romantic comedy -- mixed up from a splash of cultural disapproval, a sprig of workoholism, a dash of instant attraction, two pinches of complicated mother, and several other ingredients that will be quite familiar to anyone who's seen a movie marketed to women in the past generation.

Michele Krusiec is Wilhelmina "Wil" Pang, a promising surgical resident in her late twenties. Joan Chen is her mother, who was widowed some time ago. (I think; there was a line or two of dialogue that explained the mother's situation, and I'm not sure I caught all of it.) Wil is a very, very closeted lesbian -- so closeted, in fact, that it's possible that she's never had a real relationship. But then she meets Vivian Shing (Lynn Chen), a rising ballet dancer and the daughter of the head of surgery at her hospital, and the two begin a quiet love affair. And then Wil's mother is suddenly, scandalously, pregnant despite being unmarried -- and refuses to name the father.

Wil's traditional grandfather kicks mom out -- she's been living with her parents for some time, and the movie doesn't show her having any job -- and she moves in with Wil. From there, it's a fairly standard learning-to-stand-up-to-the-forces-of-family-oppression movie, for both Wil and her mom. It's all done elegantly, and all of the actors are good, but it doesn't break any new ground. It does pass the Bechdel test with flying colors, though it might fail the reverse test (which would be rare for any movie) -- I don't think there's any scene where two men talk together about anything other than women.

If you like my-infuriating-traditionalist-parents movies, you'll find a lot to like in Saving Face. But if you want surprises out of your movie plots, this is not the film for you.


moonrat said...

i love this movie!!! it's so cute!

moonrat said...

and oh yeah, maybe i'm gullible, but the "secret" TOTALLY surprised me.

have you seen EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN? if you liked this one, you'll probably like that one (although there's no gay/lesbian element).

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