Monday, April 2, 2012

Movie Review: Snow Flower & The Secret Fan

Movie Blurb: From the director of The Joy Luck Club, and based on the best-selling novel, comes a timeless portrait of female friendship. Centuries ago, two “sworn sisters” are isolated by their families, but stay connected through a secret language written in the folds of a white silk fan. Now in modern-day Shanghai, their descendents must draw inspiration from the past as they struggle to maintain their own eternal bond in the face of life’s complications. What unfolds are two stories, generations apart, but everlasting in their universal notion of love, hope and friendship.

Review: If you read the fantastic book by Lisa See, you might want to pass on this film. The movie only tells part of the story, seeking to add a modern spin along with the historical. Oh and there's also subtitles.

My thoughts are...if you are going to have part of the film done in English, why not do the rest as well. Perhaps it is for authenticity, but for whatever reason, it doesn't work here. The two story lines could also have worked if they were aiming for a longer film, but instead they kept the film at 1 hour and 40 minutes, so each story felt incomplete.

Snow flower and Lily had such a special relationship and you only catch little snippets of that in this movie. The same can be said for Nina and Sophia. It did open your eyes to Laotongs "old sames" and the nushu language that was for women, but so much is left out. I think even those people that didn't read the book will feel the choppiness of this film.

I won't blame the actresses, as both Bingbing Li and Gianna Jun did a great job playing the dual roles. Hugh Jackman makes an appearance as Sophia's Australian lover. I think he was cast for the benefit of attracting an audience.

The cinematography, however, is what makes this movie worth watching, especially in the 19th century parts of the film. The visuals and film score are stunning, which doesn't have me wishing for my $1.27 rental fee back. I am happy that I never went to the theater to see this one, that wouldn't have been worth my money.

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