Comedy /Drama / Romance, 1 hr 31 min
Log line: A romantic comedy about right, wrong and everything in between.
a symphony of storylines intertwined in the most masterful of ways…
You know you’ve found a winner when you instantly want to rewatch a film after having just reached the end credits, then upon rewatching it you catch onto yet more details, lines, and quirks that make you love it even more. A true masterpiece is timeless, its capacity to draw on your emotions is boundless, and everything from start to finish appears effortless. Saving Face is one such masterpiece.
Saving Face hits all the sweet spots. It has family drama that is drawn from a lot of internalised cultural factors such as filial piety and a sense of duty and honour, it has well-timed comedy that adds to the entertainment without feeling forced, it has a coming out story that is entirely believable and yet totally gut-wrenching, and to top it off, it portrays a multitude of romantic story lines of all ages and generations.
The main romantic relationship is a delightful one between Vivian (Lynn Chen) and Wil (Michelle Krusiec). Wil is a 28-year-old Chinese American career-driven surgeon whose 48-year-old mother, formally known as ‘Ma’, has long tried to brush aside the fact that her daughter is a lesbian by setting her up with Chinese guys. Vivian is a professional dancer excelling at ballet and modern dance, but torn between choosing the style of dance to pursue and the pursuit of her love for Wil. Meanwhile, Ma has an actual secret of her own–she has been knocked up! By whom? No one knows, and the result of this has led her father to banish her from her parents’ household, forcing her to seek lodging at Wil’s. Ma’s loneliness having been shunned by her judgmental friends, the tension from living with her daughter, and Wil’s skirting around the topic of Vivian being her girlfriend all make for good-hearted drama, comedy, and endless entertainment.
What makes Saving Face stand out is both the authenticity of the storytelling, coupled with the sheer amount of content and story that flows throughout the film from backstory, cultural references, all the way to present day challenges and hopes for the future. Every key character and relationship whether it be romantic, parental, or marital is given its due attention and backbone. You can see that this film has been crafted with lots of care and love, which is often the case when the stories are somewhat based on true events and personal to the writer/director, as it was for Alice Wu. Intent is one thing, but delivery is another. It is evident that all the scenes in this film have been carefully curated with purpose, all the lines are meaningful and very quotable, no time is wasted, the music perfectly matches the energy of the moment, and the acting is superb down to each subtle glance and facial expression.
In short, Saving Face gives the audience a symphony of storylines intertwined in the most masterful of ways. In my opinion, it is not only deserving of all the film awards and nominations that it has received thus far, but for a film from 2005 featuring a lesbian couple and a cast consisting mostly of people of colour, I would say that Saving Face was ground-breaking, eye-opening, and inspiring to see unfold on screen.
Alice Wu has since made an equally wonderful queer film, The Half of It – you can check out our review here: https://www.lesflicks.com/read/review/the-half-of-it-review/
I greatly look forward to seeing more from this incredible filmmaker! #AmplifyLBTQFilm
Watch the trailer
This article was written by:
Reviewer & Writer
Ping believes in the power of love and kindness, and that "love is love" no matter what shape or form it comes in. She would like to see positive representation for all walks of life in film and media.