OK for kids 14+
Disappointing literary adaptation has some heavy themes.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book-based drama set in both present-day and 19th-century China explores complicated but sustaining friendships among women. In some ways, it's an uplifting tale that teens might find interesting, but the storytelling is uneven, and some themes/plot lines -- opium addiction, persecution, pervasive repression of women -- may be too intense for younger viewers. There's some drinking and period-accurate substance abuse; one scene of a married couple having sex shows a man atop a woman, with his naked back visible.
- Families can talk about how the movie depicts repressive practices like foot binding. How did it affect women in China? What repercussions did it have? What does the movie say about the treatment of women, both in the past and today?
- What does the movie say about female friendships? How do they compare to romantic relationships?
The good stuff
Messages: Women give each other support and friendship that sustains them through strained marriages and tragedies in a society that doesn't consider them equals to their husbands, fathers, and brothers.
Role models: For the most part, the women are portrayed in a positive light. Though they may not always make the kindest or most empathetic decisions, they nevertheless arrive at them from a place of concern and love. On the other hand, the men, with the exception of possibly one character, seem controlling, opportunistic, or both. Sometimes, they're even cruel.
What to watch for
Violence: A man drags his wife off and hits her -- viewers don't see much of the actual beating, though she's shown with bruises and a puffy face afterward. A character is hospitalized after a bike accident. References to war and the chaos and despair it creates. Some yelling. Pervasive repression of women pervades the storyline; women's feet are bound when they're kids, hobbling them both literally and figuratively.
Sex: A husband and wife have sex; viewers see a man on top of a woman, his naked back visible. Some grunting and moaning. Another man kisses a woman's bound feet. References to a character getting a girl pregnant. One passionate kiss.
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: A man is shown getting high on an opium pipe. Some social drinking in restaurants and bars; two women get inebriated after taking shots.
Fan Reviews provided by
I want my two hours back by jodie_e_a
Seeing a film after reading the book is almost always somewhat disappointing. I expected that the movie would not be as good as the book but I didn't expect it to be as awful as it was. This movie completely lacked any sentimentality; there was no attempt at character development; the story line was confusing and difficult to follow. If you hadn't read the book you wouldn't know what was going on. I couldn't relate to the characters and the relationships were lacking in honesty and depth. The acting was horrible as was the dialogue. And the only thing sentimental about this film was the music - the music is the best feature of this film. Don't pay for a ticket, just buy the soundtrack - it's sure to be a better deal.
Visually Beautiful, Worth Seeing..... by Alon Patterson
I liked this film, although I admit it probably wouldn't appeal to the broader film audience here in the U.S. If only more American films were photographed as professionally as this. The whole film, end to end, was shot by a greatly talented artist. Exotic locations are one thing but the photography in this film is simply incredible and is not aided by computer generated effects either. The story lost much in translation from the book but not so much as to change its touching core. The talent is convincing enough to elicit the required audience responses but not much more. While not filled with multi million dollar super hero action or vulgar comedy disguised as wit, this movie delivers a different kind of entertainment. See it. You won't be disappointed.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by carlyh88
Loved the book and the movie though it might have been better if the movie eliminated the modern track of the story and stuck to the original story in the book... enjoyed seeing sexy Hugh Jackman.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by lrepstein
Somewhat of a different story than the book, but it was a lovely story. Loved the actors who played Lily and Snow Flower. They were like I pictured them in the book. I'm sorry it couldn't get more into some of the core of the book, but the story of lifelong friendships touched my heart.
Snow Flower and Secret Fan by slcarlson
Read the book several years ago and although the movie is OK it is not true to the book, i.e., current scene/story lines not in book which tended to make it a slow starter but picked up pace nicely. Real chick flick. Good but not great, don't expect it to win any awards although some scenery truly beautiful.