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Saving Face


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Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Chen, Michelle Krusiec, Lynn Chen, Jin Wang, Guang Lan Koh
  • Directors: Alice Wu
  • Writers: Alice Wu
  • Producers: Bergen Swanson, James Lassiter, Jeff Morin, John Penotti, Robin O'Hara
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment / Mill Creek
  • DVD Release Date: October 18, 2005
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AQOHN0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,390 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Saving Face" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

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-Lan moves in with her grown daughter, Wil (Michelle Krusiec), a Manhattan doctor who doesn't want a roommate, especially since she's met Viv (Lynn Chen), her sexy young lover. So Wil does what any dutiful child with an expectant, unmarried mother on her hands would do: she proceeds to set Hwei-Lan up with every eligible bachelor in town.

Customer Reviews

Pregnant mother and gay daughter, both needing to save face in very tightly wound Chinese social culture.
Christina Forbes
It is rare for me to like a movie's writing so much that I go looking for a book by that writer, but I had to see if there was more to this story.
Amazon Customer
This film is warm, funny and accessible to many different audiences, which makes it so charming and human.
D. Pawl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Erica Anderson on June 30, 2005
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.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Junglies VINE VOICE on October 16, 2005
Format: DVD
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.
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By MICHAEL ACUNA on May 27, 2005
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 love...now 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 imposition...to 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.
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