Review: 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' Tells a Story of Unbreakable Female Bonds

Lisa See’s critically acclaimed novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan comes to life in award-winning director Wayne Wang’s latest film about the power of strong female friendships over time. Wang, who directed the famous '90s Asian American film "The Joy Luck Club," tells a similar tale of female empowerment and resilience to overcome adversity, meet society’s standards, and cope with rigid cultural norms. The story takes place in 19th century China, where girls had their feet bound and spent the rest of their lives in seclusion. To communicate with one another, they created a new language or secret code called nu shu, women’s writing. They painted their messages on fans and sewed them on handkerchiefs. In "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," seven-year-old girls Snow Flower and Lily are matched as laotong or “old sames” sisters bound together for eternity. They write nu shu between the folds of a white silk fan to express their feelings and talk to each other.

In a parallel time in present day Shanghai, the laotong descendants Nina and Sophia struggle to maintain their friendship as they deal with the demands of their careers, relationships, and an evolving society. Through the life lessons embroidered in the white silk fan of their ancestors, the two women begin to learn the power of strong female bonds over the years—or in this case, centuries. Asia’s two well-respected actresses Bingbing Li and Gianna Jun star in this poignant tale of female companionship. The release date of the film is slated for July. In the meantime, catch the trailer here.

"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan"