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Customer Review

71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I Wrap, I Bind" ~ Exploring The Depth Of Sisterly Love, November 4, 2011
This review is from: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (DVD)
Let me begin by saying I have not read Lisa See's book upon which this film is based, hence I'm not in the category of other reviewers who disliked this movie primarily because of its deviation from the novel. Translating a work of art from one medium to another is a difficult task at the very least and it comes as no surprise to discover that a person who loves something in one medium is seldom pleased with its appearance in another. Personally I think a film should be judged solely on its own merits, like it or dislike it for what it is, not for what you thought or hoped it would be.

Having said that I would like to convey how much I loved this film. Director Wayne Wang instilled `Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' with the same depth of emotion and sensitivity that made his `Joy Luck Club' such a moving and memorable viewing experience.

The storyline moves neatly back and forth between two sets of Chinese women living in different times (Lily and Snow Flower in 1829 China, Nina and Sophia in present day Shanghai). Though time and place differ, the shared cultural and spiritual bonds formed by their mutual `vows of sisterhood' are identical and timeless. Bingbing Li plays the parts of both Lily and Nina and Gianna Jun the dual roles of Snow Flower and Sophia. Both story lines are engaging but clearly the Snow Flower and Lily tale is the more important of the two. Nevertheless the present day friendship between Nina and Sophia is essential to the intent of the film, providing not only context to the earlier friendship but a cultural bridge between past, present and future. In other words, while everything around us is constantly changing what's really important in life remains the same.

I strongly recommend this film; the storyline, dialogue, soundtrack, visuals and cast all make for a well spent evening of viewing entertainment. The only warning I would level is to say that this is, like `Joy Luck Club' a chick flick so gentlemen view at your own risk.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 30, 2012 12:24:50 PM PST
this was more than a deviation. All the things in the present were completely made up for the movie. The past was much more nuanced and detailed. Instead of being based on a the novel of Lisa See they should have just put shares a title with and mentions the novel by Lisa See. It would have been more accurate.

Posted on Sep 16, 2012 4:38:25 PM PDT
G. Torres says:
Please DO NOT compare "Joy Luck Club" to this movie. Joy Luck Club was a superb film something this one can't even aspire to.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2012 10:30:48 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 17, 2012 10:32:43 AM PDT
Yes I agree with you that 'Joy Luck Club' is a vastly superior film to the one being reviewed here. But like it or not there are similarities between the two that would and will come up in conversations between film lovers when discussing how Asian history and culture (particularly Chinese) has impacted the contemporary Asian-American experience. In my personal opinion the film 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' is a thoroughly enjoyable movie, whether it was consistent with the book or not. On the other hand, the 'Joy Luck Club' is an absolute classic. In that sense you're right, they cannot be compared.

Posted on Aug 24, 2013 9:50:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 20, 2014 10:29:49 PM PDT
JNagarya says:
I don't know why some view "Joy Luck Club" and this film as being "chick flicks". For one, most men enjoy looking at attractive women (in case some haven't noticed, women look different than men, and they move differently). For another, women also (should) fascinate most men. If only more men had the courage to admit their jealousy of the relationships women can have with each other.

And some of us are fascinated with mother-daughter ("Joy Luck Club") and sister-sister ("Snow Flower and the Secret Fan") relationships. And as a bonus, learning about the extraordinary, often awe-inspiring, and so often beautiful (the traditional, classic chongsam/chi pao worn by Lily and Snow Flower are endlessly varied and beautiful), Chinese culture and history.

As for the criticism that it doesn't "match" the book: it seems the authoress of the book doesn't have that problem, as it's clear from the extras that she approved of the film without any apparent reservations.

Last but not least, Wayne Wang is an unusually eclectic "genre-hopping" director (see "Chan is Missing," "Maid in Manhattan," "Chinese Box," "The Princess of Nebraska"), who deserves more, and more serious attention, than he currently gets. It is in part having seen most of his other films that results in my appreciation of this film, which stands well on its own merits.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2015 7:11:15 AM PST
SL's says:
Thanks for such a great review, it provides with insights and perspectives. I wonder... What's the version for the disc you have? Is it the one with 104 mins, 120 mins or 137 mins? For the one in Hong Kong, we only have the version with 104 mins. I am looking for the complete and uncut 120 mins... Thanks a lot!
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