*This entry is part of a mini-feature, High School Nostalgia: books-turned-movies that were discussed during my high school years.Cast: Kieu Chinh, Tsai Chin, Tamlyn Tomita
Director: Wayne Wang
The book is thick but well written and quite entertaining. A book about mothers and daughters, it transitions to their experiences, back in China and now in America, and how they try to bridge cultures and teach each others the ways of another. I liked this book, I did. It wasn't my favorite high school reading but because of its wonderful message (and it does make for light reading), I have read it a couple of times. This movie, on the other hand, while it did reach out the message of the book, failed to hit the mark that the book was trying to leave the readers with. I felt that half of it was unattached, with the other half expressing much of the emotion and sorrow that the book was trying to define.
The movie is told through 8 perspectives, but it all roots down to one event, the death of June's mother, Suyuan. Suyuan play mah jong with three other ladies, who in turn, had their own experiences in China and with the upbringing of their own daughters. The daughters, June, Waverly, Lena and Rose, have their own experiences with their mothers and their own growth and experiences with other people.
I found the movie quite mediocre. It is a beautiful story, yes, but it did not translate well in film. While the mood of the film never faltered, there were really scenes that were more tragic and hard-hitting. The script was filled with numerous sayings, and it does fit the family bill. It really is a tale that is made to build cultural bridges, especially when living in another environment. It teaches that wherever you go, your heritage, your culture, goes with you. A good read, if you're into reading for a long haul.