The Joy Luck Club

As irresistibly sentimental as TERMS OF ENDEARMENT and nearly as complex as JFK, THE JOY LUCK CLUB unravels the web of relationships linking four Chinese-born mothers to their American daughters. Wayne Wang's sleek, intelligent adaptation of Amy Tan's celebrated novel is too long and, ultimately, too soapy, but he and his screenwriters (Tan herself, together...read more

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As irresistibly sentimental as TERMS OF ENDEARMENT and nearly as complex as JFK, THE JOY LUCK CLUB unravels the web of relationships linking four Chinese-born mothers to their American daughters. Wayne Wang's sleek, intelligent adaptation of Amy Tan's celebrated novel is too long and,

ultimately, too soapy, but he and his screenwriters (Tan herself, together with RAIN MAN writer Ronald Bass) have injected just enough irony into the proceedings to save the day.

Wang's biggest achievement is navigating the narrative maze of the novel in such a way that the audience doesn't get hopelessly lost. Most of the drama happens in flashback, with several actresses stepping in to play each character during different stages of her life. The segments set in China,

dealing with the early lives of the mothers, are the most eventful, encompassing generous doses of lust, betrayal, suicide, murder, and more. It's pure melodrama, but stylishly done, with finely tuned performances played out against meticulously realized settings. The American episodes, dealing

with the more mundane domestic dramas of the daughters, are equally well acted, but overconcerned with spelling out the glib moral ("never let your spirit die") that links all the segments.

Thankfully, some of the elder women have been blessed with acidly witty tongues; as well as making us laugh, they insure brief, tear-free episodes during which audience members can load up on fresh Kleenex.

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  • Released: 1993
  • Rating: R
  • Review: As irresistibly sentimental as TERMS OF ENDEARMENT and nearly as complex as JFK, THE JOY LUCK CLUB unravels the web of relationships linking four Chinese-born mothers to their American daughters. Wayne Wang's sleek, intelligent adaptation of Amy Tan's cele… (more)

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