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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2011)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, History  |  24 June 2011 (China)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 2,891 users   Metascore: 42/100
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A story set in nineteenth-century China and focusing on the life-long friendship between two girls who develop their own secret code as a way to contend with the rigid social norms imposed on women.



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Ron Bass) , 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bank CEO
Nina / Lily
Snow Flower / Sophia (as Gianna Jun)
Coco Chiang ...
Hu Qing Yun ...
Mrs. Liao
Shiping Cao ...
Mr. Wei (as Shi Ping Cao)
Ruijia Zhang ...
Mrs. Wei
Zhebing Gong ...
Lilia Zhou ...
Congmeng Guo ...
Little Lily
Danping Shen ...
Lily's Mother
Yan Dai ...
Little Snow Flower
Yulan Xu ...
Snow Flower's Mother


In 19th-century China, seven year old girls Snow Flower and Lily are matched as laotong - or "old sames" - bound together for eternity. Isolated by their families, they furtively communicate by taking turns writing in a secret language, nu shu, between the folds of a white silk fan. In a parallel story in present day Shanghai, the laotong's descendants, Nina and Sophia, struggle to maintain the intimacy of their own childhood friendship in the face of demanding careers, complicated love lives, and a relentlessly evolving Shanghai. Drawing on the lessons of the past, the two modern women must understand the story of their ancestral connection, hidden from them in the folds of the antique white silk fan, or risk losing one another forever. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality, violence/disturbing images and drug use | See all certifications »


Official Sites:





Release Date:

24 June 2011 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Der Seidenfächer  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$134,005 (USA) (15 July 2011)


$1,346,503 (USA) (23 September 2011)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rupert Murdoch personally asked Fox Searchlight to release this film in North America. See more »


The last paragraphs of the unsent letter that Nina found in Sophias apartment, which can be seen when she closes the notebook, don't match Nina's voice-over. See more »


[first lines]
Bank CEO: People say I'm sending Sebastian and Nina to New york so neither will take my job. Hey, perhaps that's partly true. You know, like these butterflies that surround us this evening, it's a time of transformation, new beginnings.
See more »

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User Reviews

Almost no emotional attachment
21 March 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of those bond between two characters movie done in a very generic manner to the point it just gets really boring easily. It tries to get that emotional pull from the audience but I just couldn't get into this one. The development and scenarios are just poorly done, maybe the novel this movie is based on is better or something. Cause this one felt like a cardboard box that just seemed to be trying too hard for something it just isn't when it comes to the overall experience. The story is about the bond between two sisters by match making that transcends time. The thing is the development is poorly done to the point I just couldn't get emotionally attached to the two main characters in this. It shows the outer bond and struggles but it seemed to only show the surface and nothing much underneath it all. Between the two sisters Bingbing Li's character Nina seemed like the main one and then comes Gianna Jun who's name is on the title of this movie. Her name is Snow Flower in this but she doesn't have much dialogue or show much range in her acting skills. Hugh Jackman is in this as well and he basically just makes few cameo appearance and seemed like he just was in this flick as a favor.


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