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.
Saving Face starts like you might expect a Chinese-American lesbian romantic comedy to start: Young surgeon Wilhelmina (Michelle Krusiec, in her first starring role) has kept her sexual orientation secret from the conservative Chinese community of Flushing, NY--but when her mother (Joan Chen, The Last Emperor) becomes pregnant and is kicked out by her own parents, Wil suddenly has to juggle her mother's secrets with her own...which include her sparky new romance with Vivian (Lynn Chen), a ballet dancer and the daughter of Wil's boss. This bundle of intrigue and lust could motivate a wacky farce, but writer/director Alice Wu takes things a step further, delving into the characters' psyches and the complex social rules of their world while still crafting a strong plot and plenty of sly humor. Wu captures excellent performances from her entire cast, particularly Joan Chen, who gives perhaps her most multifaceted performance. A rich, rewarding, and delightful movie. --Bret Fetzer
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