Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Watch Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 1 hr 44 min
  • 6.1  (3,987)
  • 42

In 2011, the movie Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, directed by Wayne Wang and starring Bingbing Li, Jun Ji-hyun, and Vivian Wu, hit theaters. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Lisa See and tells the story of two friends, Snow Flower and Lily, who find solace in each other's company during their difficult lives in 19th century China.

The story begins in a small village in China where the seven-year-old girls Snow Flower and Lily are paired together to become laotongs, or “old sames,” who are meant to stay friends for life. While they are from different families and have different personalities, the girls form a deep bond that continues to grow stronger over the years.

As they grow up, Snow Flower and Lily experience many hardships in their lives. Each has to get married and leave her family behind to join her husband's household, where they are often not treated well. However, through it all, they remain close and find comfort in exchanging messages through a secret language they learn as laotongs called nu shu.

Nu Shu is a secretive language system used exclusively by women in the Hunan province of China. The practice dates back to the 13th century and was used by women to communicate with each other in secret and express their feelings about their daily lives, arrange meetings, and leave messages. Nu Shu became so important to these women that it actually acted as a way for them to retain some control and agency in their lives despite being oppressed by a male-dominated society. This aspect of the film helps to give an insight into the culture and traditions of China's past, and how women were able to find a way to communicate and strengthen their bonds despite the societal limitations that were placed on them.

As the story unfolds, we see Snow Flower and Lily navigate their way through challenging and often dangerous situations. They encounter challenging circumstances in their marriages, including infertility and domestic abuse. However, despite the difficulties that they face, they continue to cling to their friendship and the bond that they share through their secret language.

One of the strengths of the film is its portrayal of the two main characters. Bingbing Li does an excellent job of playing the more reserved, longing Snow Flower, while Jun Ji-hyun brings a lot of heart and emotion to the role of the impulsive, idealistic Lily. Similarly, Vivian Wu, who plays Madame Wang, an older woman who has experienced the same hardships and heartbreaks as Snow Flower and Lily, provides a wise and compassionate presence in the film. The performances are grounded and authentic, emphasizing the film's themes of friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice.

Technically, the movie is well-made; the cinematography is beautiful, and the costume design is exquisite. The film does an excellent job of showcasing the intricate and detailed clothing worn by women in 19th century China. The sets and scenery accurately depict life in rural China at the time, with attention paid to small details, such as the architecture of houses and the way tea was served.

Overall, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a poignant and emotionally resonant film that tells the story of two women whose friendship helps them to survive in a world that is stacked against them. Through their struggles and hardships, we see how love and loyalty can help us to persevere even in the darkest of times. It's a powerful reminder of the importance of having someone to lean on during difficult times, and how friendship can make the unbearable more bearable. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a beautiful and haunting film, with tender performances that will stay with you long after the movie ends.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a 2011 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 44 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.1 and a MetaScore of 42.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 44 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.1  (3,987)
  • Metascore