“I am waiting like a tiger in the trees, now ready to leap out, ready to cut her spirit loose.” The Joy Luck Club, an Oliver Stone production, depicts four women and their strife bringing up their American born daughters. Directed by Wayne Wang, this rated R movie featured actors and actresses such as Ming-na Wen, Rosalind Chao, Russell Wong, and Lisa Lu.
The Joy Luck Club is an emotional tale about four women who saw life as they had seen it back in China. Because the Chinese were very stereotypic, women were treated as second class citizens and were often abused. Through sad and painful experiences, these four women had tried to raise their daughters to live the American dream by giving them love and support, such things which were not available to them when they were young. These women revealed their individual accounts in narrative form as they relived it in their memories. These flashbacks transport us to the minds of these women and we see the events occur through their eyes. There were many conflicts and misunderstandings between the two generations due to their differences in upbringing and childhood. In the end, however, these conflicts would bring mother and daughter together to form a bond that would last forever.
The setting played an important role in the effectiveness of the movie. The setting of The Joy Luck Club was set in various locations. Some were filmed in San Francisco and others were taken in China. Because the story dealt with the Chinese people and their customs, it would be logical for the producer to direct the film in China where it all started. The producer moved the setting back to the United States when they dealt with the daughters. Because the movie moved back and forth from the forties to the sixties and to the nineties, the producers had to use various symbolic signs to tell its viewers the period of time. For example, songs, costumes, and hair-do’s help us determine the time. The Joy Luck Club displayed a variety of costumes. They used Chinese garments and clothing to give its viewers a sense of the Chinese tradition and culture. Make-up was also used in different scenes to create various atmospheres.
There were many main characters in the movie. I feel that Kilu Chinh did an outstanding job in portraying her character, the strong-willed Suyuan. Back in China, Suyuan had to abandon her twin babies due to severe dehydration and her near death experience. She was fortunate, however, to be rescued and later emigrated to the United States. Here, her perseverance was tested when her American daughter felt that she demanded too much from her. In a very touching moment, Suyuan explained that she had never expected anything from her and only hoped and prayed for her success. An important supporting character, Lisa Lu played the character of An-Mei. Her noble heart gave her the strength to make sacrifices and through her sacrifice, she was able to teach her daughter how to be strong. The actors and actresses were very effective. They were able to bring out the best in the story, originally written by Amy Tan. They were very realistic and played their parts with a lot of emotion.
Throughout the movie, Chinese music was played to add to the effectiveness of the movie. Besides that, certain parts of the film were made to look old by adding yellow lighting. In certain areas, a plain background was used to reveal the lonely setting and the poor living condition in China. The use of camera angles and close-ups made the movie more intense and interesting.
The Joy Luck Club is an excellent movie. I could even relate certain areas of the movie to my life. You could actually feel the pain and the fears, the joy and the tears of these women. It’s amazing how true these stories seemed. This movie is also very educational as it gives an inside peek at the lives and the role of women in China. I would definitely recommend everyone to watch the movie because it is an incredible movie which will leave you in awe.