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SCREEN

SAVING FACE

Josh Bell

Wu's writing and directing debut is notable more for its subject matter than for its storytelling or filmmaking skill. Being the first significant film to document the experience of Asian-American lesbians is a double-edged sword for Saving Face: On the one hand, it gives the film a sense of importance and a high profile that it might not have otherwise possessed, but on the other hand, it puts demands on the film that the predictable, cutesy story line just isn't equipped to handle.


The film follows first-generation Chinese-American Wil (Krusiec), a successful doctor who hides her homosexuality from her traditional Chinese family. Wil starts up a romance with ballet dancer Vivian (Lynn Chen) just as her mother (Joan Chen)—pregnant at age 48 by an unknown man—shows up on her doorstep.


Saving Face is a traditional family comedy in many ways, although Wu handles her characters' sexuality with dignity and grace. Still, the film has plenty of standard rom-com tropes and a thoroughly sappy ending. As a sweet comedy, it's enjoyable enough, as long as you don't expect it to carry the burden of an entire ethnic or sexual community on its shoulders.

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