Chinese American Soap
Saving Face
Review Review by Ross Anthony

Aptly titled, in a modern New York setting, "Saving Face" tells the story of a Chinese American family coming to terms with loves, dreams, and orientation. For years prior to this tale, presumably, Wil, the doctor has kept secret her style of romance. Her traditional mother refuses to believe that her daughter can be happy unmarried. Further, the grandfather is concerned more with saving his face, saving his family name from disgrace, than with keeping his family together.

Outwardly, unraveling in a sort of cute "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" kind of way, "Saving Face" progresses on the inward tension between passion and repression. The main character is quite comfortable hiding that which she loves from her family, because she knows her family will not accept it. She fears their response. But that which she loves will not be kept hidden. Nor will that which her mother secretly loves.

This film breaks the icy barriers of traditional repression, cold communication. And while offering up a series of sometimes charming scenes, the film seldom breaks deeper into the surface. You'll chuckle, but you won't cry. You'll root for Wil, but you won't really get to know her, nor feel with her.

The production rolls well mostly, but lulls going into the third act, which becomes a bit overloaded/confused with multiple movie endings. Mostly in English, but with a significant amount of Chinese language (subtitled in English).

Quote from writer/director Alice Wu, "I wrote 'Saving Face' as a love-letter to my mother. The character of Ma begins the movie as a woman with all major decisions in life seemingly made; at 48, she has lived a proper life and is now essentially just living to die. That she ultimately breaks with tradition and lives on her own terms is a triumph I wanted my mother -- and the world -- to see. I suppose if there is one thing I am trying to say with the film, it is that no matter who you are -- Asian or black, gay or straight, young or old -- that everyone basically wants to love -- and that opportunity can start at any point in your life that you want it to. ... I wanted my mother to know that it was never too late to fall in love for the first time."

  • Saving Face. Copyright © 2005.
  • Starring Michelle Krusiec, Joan Chen, Lynn Chen, Jin Wang, Guang Lan Koh.
  • Directed by Alice Wu.
  • Screenplay by Alice Wu.
  • Produced by Teddy Zee, James Lassiter, Will Smith at Screen Gems.

Grade..........................B (2/4)

Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:53:23 PDT