Saving Face - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Saving Face Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 27, 2012
Absolutely delightful. An American-Born-Chinese lesbian finds her world rocked when her widowed mother is disowned for getting pregnant out of wedlock. The story subverts stereotypes about race, gender, sexuality, and age, but it never seems to do too much. Enough time is spent on major and minor characters and plots. The end teeters on Joy Luck Club-level saccharine, but the performances are all nuanced and the bilingual script is seamless in mixing the elders' traditional Mandarin and the ABCs' mix of English and broken Mandarin.

There is the requisite nagging Tiger Mom we've come to expect from Asian culture clash films, but Joan Chen brings a quieter, more sensual layer as well, since Ma is also back on the market. Michelle Krusiec, as the surgeon daughter, is brilliantly still and funny in a serious way. There are even a few mannerisms of hers that I know I do/did in my one short film acting experience. She, along with Carey Mulligan and Emmanuelle Béart, are actresses whose faces I'd like to wear, "Silence-of-the-Lambs"-style.
Super Reviewer
January 16, 2012
An American-born Chinese doctor falls into a lesbian relationship with a woman who rejects the strictures of their shared culture against the backdrop of her mother's scandalous pregnancy.
The first act of this film is positively delightful, a Chinese version of Imagine Me and You. Michelle Krusiec is a gem as Wil, full of quick wit and a reserved sexuality. Joan Chen perfectly captures the type of Chinese mom I've seen in real life, commanding yet somehow behind the times enough to make one cautious to rebel, feeling a sense of respect we automatically associate to antiquity. And Lynn Chen is the perfect leading lady to Krusiec's character.
The film is about all the things one might expect, prejudice, modernity, and the need to rebel against the mores of the past. Obviously, these themes aren't new, but they seem fresh through writer/director Alice Wu's lens.
The second and third acts were a little slow; it was almost as though the film had to stop to unravel itself, and the sharp, charming wit of the first act slipped away.
Overall, Saving Face is a delightful film, and I hope to see more of Krusiec.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2007
Ok, so when I first heard of this, the plot sort of threw me for a loop. Chinese lesbian? 50-year-old unmarried pregnant mother? This is risky stuff! But really, it's just poor man's Ang Lee. Given the plot, Alice Wu makes it seem as low-key as possible, which I guess is kind of the point? but doesn't make it any more interesting. It's a tolerable kind of movie.
Super Reviewer
September 22, 2008
Pretty good movie.
Super Reviewer
November 5, 2007
I liked this movie. An interconnected set of NYC people dealing with relationships, prejudice, bias and Saving Face.
Super Reviewer
½ August 24, 2006
In "Saving Face", Wilhelmina(Michelle Krusiec) is a young surgeon who attends the weekly Planet China dances held in Flushing where her 48-year old divorcee mother(Joan Chen) tries to fix her up with every eligible man in attendance with no success. On this occasion, however, she does meet somebody she likes, a beautiful ballet dancer, Vivian(Lynn Chen). But Wilhelmina is not out to any member of her close-knit family, especially her mother. That makes life especially complicated for her when after work one day, she finds her mother camped out on her porch, having been exiled from the Chinese-American community in Flushing for getting pregnant out of wedlock by a person unknown.

"Saving Face" is an amusing romantic comedy that rises above its sitcommish plot by being very appealing throughout. It is about the generational conflict between the traditions of the first-generation immigrants and the worldliness of their children who were influenced by their American surroundings. But the movie does get rather cliche-happy right around the climax in a misguided attempt to resolve everything too neatly.
Super Reviewer
½ April 25, 2008
I really like these two characters a lot. Very good acting and a sweet but believable little movie.
Super Reviewer
December 8, 2007
Super Reviewer
February 23, 2006
I think this must be my favourite romantic comedy of all times. Its sweet, funny, quirky, has a cute couple without the "gay" part being a big issue - wonderful film that more people need to see.
March 3, 2012
Charming and real - it is a cheesy romantic comedy with an unconventional twist as both Chinese mother and daughter deal with social taboos and acknowledging their own desires. An older woman's pregnancy and her daughter's coming out and learning how to show affection to her new girlfriend make this a film that resonates well with both older and younger audiences. It was also lovely to see a happy ending for a lesbian as such films are so rare.
½ October 7, 2007
First-time writer-director Alice Wu has taken the usual romance formula and given it cultural pizzazz.
½ May 14, 2010
Saving Face is sweet, funny, good-natured, but unremarkable. It's a more-or-less typical romantic comedy with cultural and sexual taboos added in to complicate matters. The cast is solid all the way around, and there are actually a few nice twists along the way. The film has to make a compromise, however, by choosing between two unattractive options: deny a happy ending for a same-sex couple, thus suggesting that such romances can't work, or giving in to the cliche happy romcom ending. It's not hard to guess which ending made the cut, and I'm glad for it.
½ November 24, 2009
The secret to this movie is it degrades all lesbians to being sex fanatics and NOTHING ELSE. There is no mental or spiritual connection between these two girls who are supposed to be in love. Not that I mind hot lesbian sex but seriously. This is the reason I dont date women, they are dramatic and stupid, and apparently they only care about sex. The story about her mom was cute. It was entertaining. It was not a lovestory. :<
October 5, 2009
This movie made me laugh, smile, and it warmed my heart. Everyone goes through times like these and its interesting to see how far are limits are stretched.
August 9, 2009
I liked the movie. It movie dealt with modern day issues in America that affected the Chinese community in New York City. It was tradition vs. modern and learning to accept these differences. It was a gay love story. I thought some of it was a little long and bizarre, but overall I recommend it.
½ June 27, 2007
good movie!
although I would have liked it even more if they had a little bit more character development for her girlfriend.

about half the movie is spoken in Chinese with english subtitles. The comedy, drama, romance and, tender moments make this a beautiful movie.
July 7, 2008
omg!! this movie is amazing! I guess the best Asian-American film I've ever watch! A story about the true Chinese-American life. Michelle Krusiec is pretty hot too!
June 13, 2008
A romantic comedy with a lesbian twist, touching on issues of social acceptance and the mother- daughter relationship. Alice Wu's observations of the atmosphere of the Chinese-American community are charming, and, by my accounts, authentic.
June 6, 2008
Saving Face was inspired by Director's Alice Wu own experiences coming out as a lesbian in the Chinese American community. Great cast: Michelle Kruseic, Lynn Chen and Joan Chen, witty and intelligent. A must see for Asians, Asian Americans and all those who love a great love story!
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