Saving Face

Director: Alice Wu

Produced by Will Smith and based on the writer/director’s own experiences coming out as a Chinese-American lesbian, this charming film pokes gentle fun at stereotypes, while ridiculing some of the movies in its genre. Providing a nice spin on an old tale, not only is the successful lesbian surgeon having difficulty with self-acceptance and committing to her beautiful dancer girlfriend, but she’s taken in her outcast mother (Joan Chen), who has gotten pregnant in her late forties with the child of an unnamed lover and has been kicked out of her father’s home in disgrace. There’s a few squirm-inducing scenes that feel forced and have been done better before in countless other “coming out pride” films and as all chick flicks mandate, there’s an obligatory “stop the wedding” scene, however this one you will actually remember a few months after viewing. Chen is marvelous and steals every scene she’s in which isn’t terribly hard given the acting style of the leading lady which, similar to the early work of Katie Holmes, relies too heavily on raised eyebrows and over-emphasized facial expressions.