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Film / Saving Face

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Saving Face revolves around the 29 year old Chinese-American surgeon Wilhelmina. Wil's life is shaken up when her mother (Joan Chen) moves in with her and it is also revealed that Wil's mother is pregnant by an unknown father. Wil also gets a new love in her life with another Chinese-American girl Vivian. To complicate things, Wil is trying to keep the relationship secret. The question is how can Wil handle and balance these new factors in her life?

This film is a lesbian Romantic Comedy released in 2004. Directed and written by Alice Wu, the work is a lighthearted take on family and relationships as well as how people present themselves to others.


Saving Face provides examples of:

  • Easy Evangelism: A mild case. Wil's mom transforms the local Chinatown disapproval on her and Wil's romance in about 3 months so much that Wil and Vivian can kiss in public though there still are some people who aren't happy about it and leave.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Cho has pined for Wil's mom for 15 years. He's willing to accept the baby as his own, no questions asked. But her heart belongs to another.
  • Happy Ending: Although it's sort of tacked on, three months after their breakup Wil and Vivian get back together.
  • Last Minute Hookup: Although it's sort of tacked on, three months after their breakup Wil and Vivian get back together.
  • Lesbian Romance: The primary plot has to do with family drama, changing attitudes in the Chinese community of Flushing, and coping with family pressures with regard to one's Forbidden Romance. One of the stories deals with Wil trying to conceal her relationship from her mother ... while her mother is living with her.
  • Likes Older Women: Little Yu has a thing for much older women — though to be fair, we're discussing Joan Chen.
  • May–December Romance: Though not the way you think. Even Wil assumes immediately that her mother's boyfriend is Old Yu. It's not. It's Little Yu.
  • Racist Grandma: Wil's mom displays some typical racism against black people. She purposely uses paper plates for Jay because she thinks he's dirty.


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