Wilhelmina “Wil” Pang (Michelle Krusiec) is every parent’s dream: brilliant, beautiful, and a successful doctor, neurosurgeon, to be exact. But for her Chinese mother and grandparents, she’s still short of perfection because she isn’t married. Every Friday, Wil takes the train from her apartment in Brooklyn to Flushing, to “Planet China”, a weekly mixer where her mother, Gao (Joan Chen) constantly tries and fails to set her up with eligible young men. But Wil has never been interested in men, and all of her peers know it. Wil’s family, however, doesn’t have a clue because Wil, despite all her other successes, is still in the closet, but her problems pale in comparison to her mother’s, once her grandparents discover that long-widowed Gao is pregnant, and kick her out of the house.
Wil takes in her pregnant mother, who refuses to name the father of her child, a scandal which runs through New York City’s Chinese community like wildfire. Meanwhile, Wil gets a blast from the past in the form of Vivian (Lynn Chen), a professional ballet dancer… and her boss’ daughter. Vivian is out and proud and deeply in love with Wil, but Wil is too afraid to even kiss her in public. In living with her mom, whom is both with child and pregnant with secrets, we see how, although Wil is Americanized in so many ways, the two are much more alike than they think, both of them obsessed with what others think.
In this comedy-drama, we get a bit of romance, and a heavy dose of cultural clash, as well as the joys and headaches of family. As Wil distracts herself from the task of having to come out to Gao, she takes a turn at matchmaking and tries to find a suitable husband for her shamed mother, all while trying valiantly to present herself as the sort of daughter that her mother can be proud of- a straight one. In Saving Face, we learn that the only way we can truly honour those we love is by honouring ourselves, and living in our truths.
I give this one 4.75 stars.