Saving Face

September 9th, 2005


more trailers Saving Face

Saving FaceSaving FaceLynn Chen at event of Saving FaceSaving FaceSaving FaceSaving Face

A Chinese-American lesbian and her traditionalist mother are reluctant to go public with secret loves that clash against cultural expectations.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 7.3/10 (4,992 voted)

Critic's Score: 65/100

Director: Alice Wu

Stars: Joan Chen, Michelle Krusiec, Lynn Chen

In Manhattan, the brilliant Chinese-American lesbian surgeon Wil is surprised by the arrival of her forty-eight year old widow mother to her apartment. Ma was banished from Flushing, Queens, when her father discovered that she was pregnant. The presence of Ma affects the personal life of Wil, who is in love with the daughter of her boss at the hospital, the dancer Vivian Shing. Once her grandfather has promised that her mother would only return to Flushing remarried or proving that it was an immaculate conception, Wil tries to find a Chinese bachelor to marry Ma.

Michelle Krusiec - Wilhelmina 'Wil' Pang
Joan Chen - Hwei-Lan Gao - Ma
Lynn Chen - Vivian Shing
Jin Wang - Wai Gung - Grandpa
Guang Lan Koh - Wai Po - Grandma
Jessica Hecht - Randi - Hospital Co-Worker
Ato Essandoh - Jay - Neighbor
David Shih - Norman
Brian Yang - Little Yu
Nathanel Geng - Stimson Cho
Mao Zhao - Old Yu
Louyong Wong - Dr. Shing
Clare Sum - Mrs. Wong
Qian Luo - Mrs. Shing
Richard Chang - Stephen

Taglines: It is never too late to fall in love for the first time.


Official Website: Sony Classics [United States] |

Release Date: 9 September 2005

Filming Locations: New York City, New York, USA

Gross: $1,186,323 (USA) (25 September 2005)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | USA: (San Francisco Asian American Film Festival)  | Canada:  | Argentina:

Did You Know?

The picture of Vivian as a child in Dr. Shing's office is actually a photograph of Joan Chen's daughter.

Continuity: Wil consistently wears her hair in a tightly pulled back ponytail, but shortly after her mother moves in she goes to visit her grandfather wearing an army T shirt. While she's adjusting the TV antenna, her hair is uncharacteristically puffed up with no explanation. All scenes before and after show her hair in the tight ponytail. Quite a bit later, there is a scene where Wil's mom sends her to the beauty shop to find out gossip. It's there that Wil is wearing the same army T shirt and getting her hair rolled up in big curls - the end result of which would be puffed hair!

Vivian Shing: How about this one? It's packed with peanuts
Wil: and alot of other satisfying carcinogens.
Vivian Shing: Sometimes your body knows what you really want

User Review

Beautifully done

Rating: 10/10

I just saw this at Sundance. Alice Wu is a first-time director, yet this is one of the best movies I have seen in some time. It is funny, yet tells a beautiful and complex story about communication, traditions and love. It did not look like a low budget independent film at all. The acting, cinematography and music were all beautifully done. One could tell this was an important story to all those involved and that they worked very hard to get it to the final product. The characters are not stereotypes but honest portrayals of Chinese Americans dealing with older traditions in modern America. We are all immigrants, we are all human and make mistakes while struggling for acceptance in society. Sometimes it is what we don't say that effects our lives most.