When the opportunity came to blog about the film Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, I jumped at the chance.* I’d heard of the movie’s star, Li Bingbing, from, of all people, Kelly Osborne, who raved on an episode of Fashion Police about the Chinese star’s sense of style. “Bingbing” is infinitely fun to say, and when I heard the real Bingbing tell the ladies of The View about the movie, I wanted to see it.
Snow Flower is a story of the bond between longstanding girlfriends, a sustaining force in the life of many NotMoms. And so, I had to check it out for you…and I’m glad I did.
Li Bingbing and Gianna Jun play Nina and Sophia, girlfriends since childhood in present day Shanghai. They are challenged as all friends are to remember and reconnect despite distance, time and the busyness of adulthood. In a story-within-a-story, the actresses also bring to life the 19th Century tale of Snow Flower and Lily, young girls linked for life through a ceremony of Laotong, the friendship of sisters.
This is a spectacularly beautiful movie, with breathtaking shots of the Chinese countryside and sunsets. Captions are used during the characters’ conversations in Chinese or nushu, a secret language shared by Laotong within the folds of delicate silk fans. The plot advances somewhat slowly, and at times it was hard to keep up with the competing storylines. Instead of adding in the Laotung’s descendants, it might have been better if the producers had ignored the current-day aspect and concentrated only on the characters of Snow Flower and Lily.
Western audiences will recognize at least one face: [SPOILER ALERT] actor/entertainer Hugh Jackman. He didn’t really fit for me, unless his primary role was merely to be a good-looking Caucasian, which would make sense, because if ever there were a “Chick Flick,” this is it.
Early on, viewers are told that women marry men for…tangible purposes, but a woman commits to another woman for “companionship, understanding and happiness.” My translation: Lifelong friendship, rather, the relationship between lifelong girlfriends, is a gift that neither a man nor a marriage can replicate or replace. (Below: Li Bingbing (L) and Gianna Jun (R))
My final judgment of any film I watch at home is to question whether I would have been happy or unhappy if I’d had to pay movie theater prices to see it. This would have been worth the expense.
If you’re looking for something to do on a lazy Sunday, grab a girlfriend and watch Snow Flower and the Secret Fan — available this week on DVD and Blu-ray.
To win a copy of this DVD, simply leave a comment answering the following question. Winner will be selected on Monday, Nov. 7.
What is the secret language Lily and Snow Flower use?
*This is not a Paid Post, though I did accept a free DVD to preview.