Posted by: fudgie99 | January 16, 2009

Saving Face

saving-face-2“I love you.”

“I know that you love me, too.”

“So this should be simple.”

That pretty much sums up the whole movie. This movie transcends its lesbian movie category, and is just a good movie- I’d recommend to anyone (well, not the Jehovah’s witnesses going door to door, but other than that…).

It’s the story of Wil, a closeted lesbian doctor, whose mother moves in with her when she winds up unwed and pregnant at 48. At the same time, Wil starts dating her bosses daughter, who happens to be up for a ballet gig in Paris.

Wil is so awkward with herself, it makes me squirm inside just watching her out on a date. When Vivian recounts when they first met as children, you find out she kissed Wil then- and she ran away. So setting up for Vivian’s disappointment as Wil tries to juggle pregnant mother, residency, and a relationship- while pretending the relationship doesn’t exist- and you can watch her trying hard not to be “into” Vivien, because then she might be asked to change- or should I say, stop pretending she’s someone she’s not.

My wife and I disagreed (or so I thought) about the chemistry between the two women. I thought it was good, she didn’t. Upon thinking about it, I agree with her. I was just dazzled and distracted by how sexy Vivien is. Her smoldering gaze makes up for Wil’s awkward restraint.  The love scene is sensual and soundtracked by a song I love, Cat Power’s cover of “I Found a Reason”. Don’t be shocked, but there are actual breasts in contact with each other (gasp!).

You get bonus hot points for getting to watch the beautiful and talented Joan Chen as Wil’s ma. She alternates between being snarky and overbearing when trying to set Wil up with guys and having dinner with her girlfriend to being a lost soul, humiliated, when her father kicks her out of the house, or when she starts dating. Versatile, engaging, and hilarious, her character’s struggle to please her father mirrors Wil’s. The coming out scene is realistic in it’s feeling of holding your breath,waiting for the other shoe to drop- and then it does. “I am a good mother, therefore you cannot be gay.”

The whole movie is clear on how important it is to declare your love- to yourself, to the one you love, to family, the public, the mailman, pizza delivery- Ok, you get the point- there’s something powerful in your outsides matching your insides, in loving without shame. It’s a message I think most lesbians can appreciate.

Favorite lines

“Does your mother know we have sex?”

“No Wil, she thinks we’re conjugating latin verbs.”

“I’m getting a bridal contact high.”

“You’re neighbor is loud and dark and eats too much soy sauce.”

“Dog fart, I love you!!”

star2 star2 star2 star2 Call in the U-Haul!


  1. Ok, Joan Chen is great in this. But 4 stars?! Really? I laughed through half of this movie because I just didn’t buy their relationship. I think Chen steals the movie with her own dating game.

  2. Ok this is probably my favorite movie of all time….no lie. Its like a mix between the joy luck club and lesbians….how can u go wrong?!

    I thought the chemistry was there….as much as can be between someone whos trying to stay closeted and someone whos a rebel….especially in the chinese community.

    The only part I thought was a little…um over the top was the ending….I promise…the chinese dont forgive forget or give up their idea of dishonoring the family that easily….especially for someone whos gay.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: