Snow Flower and The Secret Fan

snow-fower-and-the-secret-fan-movie-posterThe latest movie adaptation of Lisa See's novel, Snow Flower and The Secret Fan, stars Li Bing Bing and Gianna Jun.

Nina prepares to move from Shanghai to New York following a career advancement but her plans was delayed upon news of her best friend Sophia's traffic accident. Among her personal possessions, she discovers a manuscript of the story of two buddies, Snow Flower and Lily, which mirrors that of hers and her friend in coma. Following the story, the two female characters were made "laotong's", or matchmade best friends, as they were born under the same sign and had their feet bound on the same day despite the vast differences in their background. However, they became closer friends, not just because of this arrangement, but for sharing the woes of a female in 19th century Hunan in China from loveless arranged marriages to childbearing troubles to changes in fortunes. Due to certain circumstances, the two friends communicate with each other through a silk fan.

Perhaps due to high expectations of director Wayne Wong (The Joy Luck Club), there seem a tad too many misfortunes from an abusive husband to an evil stepmother to surviving a war together to create a melodramatic expected tear-jerker. On superfluous elements, the modern parallel is unnecessary and this is made jarringly more obvious with stretched comparisons such as having wearing high heels compared to feet bound.

The cinematography is visually satisfying but the film lacks momentum and especially loses it when Sophia's boyfriend played by Hugh Jackson throws the entire film off track. In conclusion, like many other movie adaptations, this one doesn't hold a candle to the book.

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