Joy Luck Club Movie Review

Yet in 1993, director Wayne Wang (best known for "Smoke" and "Chinese Box") and producer Oliver Stone ("Any Given Sunday") pulled it off by bringing Amy Tan's best-selling novel "The Joy Luck Club" to the big screen. And though the story is deeply entrenched in the Asian-American experience, "The Joy Luck Club" ends up transcending all races and cultures with its heartfelt examination of the special bond between mothers and their daughters.
The 'Joy Luck Club' of the title refers to four women who immigrated from China to the United States long ago: An Mei (Lisa Lu), Ying Ying (France Nuyen), Lindo (Tsai Chin) Suyuan (Kieu Chinh of "Riot in the Streets"). The story is framed by a large get-together of the extended families of the 'Joy Luck Club', although Suyuan has recently passed away. The reason for the celebration is the imminent departure of Suyuan's American-born daughter June (Ming-Na Wen,), who is traveling to China to meet two half-sisters she has never met. Also in attendance are Lindo's daughter Waverly (Tamlyn Tomita), Ying Ying's daughter Lena (Lauren Tom), and An Mei's daughter Rose (Rosalind Chao).
As the film unfolds, a series of well-orchestrated flashbacks (sixteen in total) tell the stories of the 'Joy Luck Club' and their American-born daughters. Though these two generations grew up in different times and places, the former in a land where women were little more than chattel and the latter in an environment that encouraged personal freedom and the departure from tradition, their struggles have far more in common than not. In addition to telling how June's mother was forced to leave her twin daughters by a roadside in China, the audience gets a glimpse of how Lindo was once married to a ten-year old spoiled brat, the agonizing sacrifice of An Mei's mother (Vivian Wu) to safeguard a better life for her daughter, and Ying Ying's act of vengeance against a philandering husband (Russell Wong). All of their experiences in pre-revolutionary China...