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Face (2002)

 -  Drama  -  January 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 249 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 7 user | 20 critic | 12 from

Genie, a Chinese-American teenager, develops feelings for a charming African-American DJ, but her grandmother forbids their romance forcing Genie to choose between family and love.


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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Liu
Kristy Wu ...
Michael (as Treach)
Mrs. Chang
Melissa Martinez ...
Deedee Magno ...
Les J.N. Mau ...
Mr. Huang
Tina Factor ...
Asian Woman
Diane Cheng ...
Mrs. Mar
Christy Qin ...
Ruth Zhang ...
Mrs. Huang


Genie, a Chinese-American teenager, develops feelings for a charming African-American DJ, but her grandmother forbids their romance forcing Genie to choose between family and love.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Losing face. Finding soul. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and brief nudity | See all certifications »




Release Date:

January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A kötelesség ára  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,324 (USA) (11 March 2005)


$106,939 (USA) (18 November 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film's music is scored by Leonard "Hub" Hubbard - the bass player of Grammy Award winning hip hop band The Roots. See more »


Written and Performed by Bertha Bay-Sa Pan (as B. Pan) and Dan McLoughlin
See more »

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User Reviews

Not just another Asian family story - the poignant telling of relationships among three generations of women
17 April 2005 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

This story is not at all melodramatic even though it may seem so. Writer-director Bertha Pan presented with a very keen and sensitive eye on the possible woes and relationships between mother and daughter, grandmother and (teen) granddaughter, and a 'forgotten' mother and her 'forsaken' daughter. "Face" - corresponding to the traditional Chinese family value of 'saving face' - is a poignant film and very much a women's story.

The setting of the film is in New York's Queens. The film is basically presented in English with sparing subtitles where necessary. The mood of the story is suggested from the beginning shot trained on Bai Ling in a 'limo' to/from airport, as flashback memories unfold. Scenes may be reminiscent of "Wedding Banquet" 1993 (director Ang Lee), and a very Audrey Hepburn looking (hair-do especially hugging) Bai Ling's lean face; also "Eat a Bowl of Tea" 1989 (director Wayne Wang), and even "Dinner Rush" 2000 (director Bob Giraldi, also set in Queens), but Pan's story/film holds its own.

Thanks, very much so, to the three talented actresses: mother/grandmother portrayed by Kieu Chinh (remember her from "Catfish in Black Bean Sauce" 1999 - Vietnamese film in an American family setting by w-d Chi Moui Lo), an energetic young Kristy Wu as the granddaughter, and Bai Ling as the middle generation character that 'begot' the start and end of the story, tying the flashback vignettes together. The performances of all three women made the film "Face," along with the production effort that brought this 'indie' to fruition. Supporting characters are just as fine: there's the very much 'face saving' valued rich mother-in-law played by Tina Chen, and the bold stroke of introducing (representative of the diverse culture of teens) a black young man (DJ, hip & rap music) as granddaughter's boyfriend (a caring & endearing soul mate at it) - an equally affecting portrayal by Treach. At times the storyline may seem cliché, but Pan opened a window and let us glimpse/feel the various aspects of Asian culture and family traditions, intermingled with the modern day values (teens/elders) cultivated in/succumbed to (an American) city and of urban society (Hong Kong/business world lingo and behavior). Pan did not spare any sentiments. She gave them to us straight, and she covered quite a range with well-paced plots. The mix of traditional and modern (teen & hip) music used complemented the mood and situations on screen. "Face" is a very good effort all round and well worth seeing.

Another worthwhile women's film is "Chaos" 2001, a film by French w-d Coline Serreau ("3 Men and a Cradle" 1987), who wove an intricate layered tale involving four women - the incidents/vignettes happening to the two main characters are suspenseful and entertaining (yes, with action) besides conveying sensitive viewpoints from women's perspective. (I have posted my user comments on IMDb.)

Also reminds me of w-d Mina Shum's debut feature "Double Happiness" 1994 with Sandra Oh as an obedient daughter as much as she could - the story revolves around the family expectations of Asian traditional parents of a young woman living in Canada - comedy and romance with struggles in modern day adjustments.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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