The Joy Luck Club Blu-ray Review
On December 11th, 2012, The Joy Luck Club became available for the first time ever on Blu-ray with new digital restoration. The Joy Luck Club is a 1993 film adapted from the best-selling novel by Amy Tan. Tan herself collaborated on the screenplay with Ronald Bass (Rain Man and My Best Friend’s Wedding).
I read The Joy Luck Club my junior year in high school and loved it, but up until now had never seen the film adaptation. Like the novel, the film version is a collection of vignettes chronicling two generations of mothers and daughters, telling stories set in both China and in San Francisco.
The four mothers have raised their daughters as Chinese-Americans, attempting to instill in them traditional Chinese ways. The mothers and daughters each have their own difficulties communicating and understanding one another.
While the novel format is perfect for vignettes, I didn’t feel that it translated quite as well to screen. It’s been 14 years since I read the novel (I have been meaning to re-read it; I still have my well-loved copy of the book), and I only remembered a few things about the character, though about mostly June’s (Ming-Na Wen) childhood and Lena’s (Lauren Tom) odd financial arrangement with her husband. It gets confusing because there are a few different actresses who portray each mother and daughter during a different part of their lives, and it was a bit difficult for me to keep each of them straight. I paused the movie several times, trying to put the names with the faces, and often resorted to Wikipedia to find out the names of the husbands, lovers, and boyfriends.
The Joy Luck Club is a touching film, but it requires your undivided attention to soak in all it has to offer. If you’re a book lover, I encourage you to read the book first before watching the film. I’m glad I finally got the chance to see this, and will definitely be re-reading the book as soon as I have the time.
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.