Critic Reviews



Based on 31 critic reviews provided by
So strong are the emotions - and, yes, the melodrama - that Snow Flower and the Secret Fan represents one of Wang's best films to date.
The connection between the two time frames and stories (the contemporary one with the addition of screenwriters) is flimsy as a frayed rope bridge, forced as the stepsister's foot into Cinderella's glass slipper.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan moves slowly, languidly; its art direction is often lovely, and despite their truncated screen time Lily and Snow Flower do make you care about their fates. But you would have cared more without all the distraction.
To invoke Pauline Kael's review of Diane Kurys's "Entre Nous," it's about two women not having a lesbian affair.
The lesson of the lovely-looking, but disappointing, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is avoid tinkering too much with a novelist's work.
While the action flashes back and forth in increments of centuries, years or months, we're adrift in the here and now, trying to get a grip on the characters and their relationships, yet finding it loosened with every new dislocation.
Soppy and sentimental, it evokes "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" without improving on it.
The gentle erotic undertow in the friendship of Snow Flower and Lily has been toned down, and replaced by ... niceness.
Unfortunately, its present-day tale, involving a career woman seeking to mend her 20-year bond with a girlfriend injured in an accident, is lax and clunky, and its story-within-a-story - a tale of two laotong, or soul sisters, in oppressive mid-1800s China - is gorgeous but simplistic.
Sadly, rather than melding the best of two worlds, the film only takes the worst of their soap operas.
This latest from director Wayne Wang, about the friendship of two young women, travels from 2011 to 1997 to 1829 to 1838, in search of a reason for the audience to keep watching and start caring. That reason is never found.

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