The Joy Luck Club
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Time Out saysAn intimate chronicle of the lives of three generations of Chinese-American women, this sophisticated weepy contains enough 'life events' for a season of soap operas, but it is to director Wang's credit that he never allows the tides of emotion to erode the essential truthfulness of the film's characterisations and insights. The Joy Luck Club is a mah-jong club at which four well-to-do immigrant Shanghai women swap recipes, memories and support. At one gathering - when, on the eve of a trip to China, American-born June (Ming-Na Wen) takes the place of her recently deceased mother Suyuan - the film flashes back to the critical moments in the relationships between the four pairs of mothers and daughters. Barring a lull towards the end, the film successfully sustains momentum through sensitive mise-en-scène, the all-round excellence of performance and design, its rhythmic emotional flow, and the sour-sweet blend of humour and tears.