The Joy Luck Club Movie Review

SCENE: Two guys shooting baskets at a basketball court. The conversation is mundane, until GUY #1 starts talking about movies.

GUY #1: I don't know how he doesn't sleep with Famke Janssen in that movie, it's friggin' mystifying to me. She's all legs and hair.

GUY #2: Yeah, she was hot in that movie.

GUY #1: Seen anything good lately?

GUY #2: Yeah (dramatic pause). The Joy Luck Club

GUY #1: (Looks at GUY #2, as if he's wearing a Viking helmet.) You serious? Isn't that a chick flick? How did you end up watching that?

GUY #2: You would think it's a chick flick, but it really isn't.

GUY #1: Women are in it? (GUY #2 nods) Crying? (GUY #2 nods) Men portrayed as schmucks (GUY #2 nods). Then it's a chick flick.

GUY #2: It isn't. It's one of those rare movies where the surface appearance gives you no indication what the movie really is all about. Just like every one of Michael Mann's movies, only in a good way.

GUY #1: Don't knock Heat. (Solely out of courtesy) So, what is it about?

GUY #2: It's about the value of family, and about how our parents are really more similar to us then you think. And what's so deceiving is that it focuses on eight Chinese and Chinese American women over a span of like 60 years, but there are so many universal truths in that movie.

GUY #1 (Annoyed): You're talking like a critic again; I hate that.

GUY #2: Sorry, but this is an important movie, because it shows us the reasons for our parents' expectations of us, and how the bond can really flourish if you're honest with yourself and able to learn from the past. Our elders really can guide us. Anyone can appreciate that.

GUY #1: I'm still not interested.

GUY #2: Fine, but even if all of the thematic stuff isn't for you, the stories of these women are inspiring. They use their smarts and independence to break away from the men who rule their lives, and I do not use that term loosely. It's heartbreaking some of the sacrifices they had to make to be themselves again.

GUY #1: This isn't like Waiting to Exhale, is it? I saw that with Laura recently and it was so much grandstanding. I felt like smothering myself with a throw pillow.

GUY #2: No, there's nothing like that. The guy who directed, Wayne Wang, he doesn't go for that kind of flashy stuff. He lets the actors do the work. Amy Tan -- she wrote the book -- and co-writer Ronald Bass, their dialogue feels natural. And the voiceovers that connect the women's stories are effective because it gives the movie that much more of a human touch. It's quite a movie: a character story that thrives on an enthralling narrative, universal emotions, and little else.

GUY #1: Yeah, well, I still don't see how this applies to me.

GUY #2: If you've ever had parents, then you can relate to this movie. Let me ask you this? How well do you know your mom and dad? You know them, but there's like 30 years of unknown history. Did you ever give a moment's notice as to how they became the people they are, and how that process influenced their relationship with you? The Joy Luck Club touches on that. For that alone, the movie is valuable. I now look at my parents much differently.

GUY #1 (Mulling over the last remark) Let me ask you something? Were there any explosions?

GUY #2: No.

GUY #1: How about nudity or car chases?

GUY #2: No.

GUY #1: Then why would I possibly care about any of this?

(Silence for several minutes, as GUY #1 and GUY #2 shoot hoops)

GUY #2: Yeah, Famke Janssen was hot, but how about Naomi Watts...

GUY #1: Oh, The Ring girl. Yeah...


The Joy Luck Club Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 1993


Editors Recommendations

Horns - Trailer

Following the mysterious death of his girlfriend, Merrin Williams (Juno Temple), Ig Perrish (Daniel Redcliffe) wakes up from with a...

Horns Trailer

'Foxcatcher' Leads Almost Went To Ryan Gosling and Bill Nighy

Foxcatcher, the psychological drama from the supremely talented Bennett Miller, is without doubt one...

'Foxcatcher' Leads Almost Went To Ryan Gosling and Bill Nighy

Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were with Lionel Richie

Ahead of the September 2014 release of Barbra Streisand's duet album 'Partners', Lionel Richie talks about the...

Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were With Lionel Richie Video

'The November Man' Is Nothing More Than An August Dud

The November Man? Pfffft - Roger Donaldson's latest movie deserves to be nowhere near the penultimate...

'The November Man' Is Nothing More Than An August Dud

Kongos - Lunatic Album Review

Bursting out the stereo with the glitzy stomp of opening salvo 'I'm Only Joking' and 'Come With Me Now', Kongos at first appear to be...

Kongos - Lunatic Album Review

Ariana Grande - Break Free - Live on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater LA

Ariana Grande performs the song, 'Break Free' live at the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theatre...

Ariana Grande - Break Free - Live On The Honda Stage At The Iheartradio Theater La Video

Jack White - I'm Down (Lyric Video)

The lyric video for Jack White's country music song, 'I'm Down' has received a lyric video. The song has been recorded as part of...

Jack White - I'm Down (Lyric Video) Video

Frasier's 'Niles Crane' Joins Cast of CBS Drama 'The Good Wife'

In his first television role since the conclusion of Frasier in 2004, David Hyde Pierce - who...

Frasier's 'Niles Crane' Joins Cast of CBS Drama 'The Good Wife'

Joan Rivers Stable But Critical, Stopped Breathing During Surgery

Joan Rivers, the 81-year-old comedienne, is in a stable but critical condition in hospital...

Joan Rivers Stable But Critical, Stopped Breathing During Surgery