Joy Luck Club

Genre: Feature/Drama
Ethnicity: Chinese American
Themes: Cultural Encounter & Misunderstanding, Family and Intergenerational Issues, Immigrant/Refugee Experience/Diaspora
Date: 1993
Rating: R
Running Time: 135 min.
Director: Wayne Wang
Availability: Widely available for purchase on DVD through retail venues (List price: $14.99).  Also available on VHS.  Available for rental from Netflix and most retail video rental outlets.
Director Wayne Wang’s (Dim Sum and Eat a Bowl of Tea) sensitive film adaptation of Amy Tan’s bestselling novel deftly explores the complicated lives of four Chinese American women and their daughters who, unlike them, were born in the US.  The novel may have had its detractors, but the film, widely available, pulls together the complicated strands in the book and transforms what might have been cliché into pathos and universal truths of the power each generation has over the other.  Brought together by the death of one of their members, the other three tell the daughter, June (Ming-Na Wen), her mother’s stories and, by extension, their own, in flashbacks which underscore how shockingly different their and their own mothers’ lives were from the American lives they all now lead.  When June decides to visit the two half sisters she learns she has in China, her going away party brings all the characters together.  By the end, terrible secrets are given voice and the mothers are finally able to confront how their unarticulated past has distorted their present.  The complacency and narcissism of their daughters, in turn, is shaken when they begin to realize how much their mothers need their daughters’ lives to be better than their own.

Bibby, Patricia.  "The Joy Luck Club."  Associated Press.  September 7, 1993.

Carr, Jay.  "‘The Joy Luck Club hits its target: the heart."  Boston Globe.  September 24, 1993.

Ebert, Roger.  "The Joy Luck Club."  Chicago Sun-Times.  September 17, 1993.

Hinson, Hal.  "The Joy Luck Club."  Washington Post.  September 24, 1993.

Howe, Desson.  "The Joy Luck Club."  Washington Post.  September 24, 1993.

Supplementary Material
Asians/Asian Americans in Film and Television: A Bibliography of Materials in the UC Berkeley Libraries
Select Joy Luck Club from the pull-down menu of films.
Asian American Filmography ExEAS