Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Information

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a 2011 historical drama film based on the novel of the same name by the Chinese-American author Lisa See. Directed by Wayne Wang, the film stars Gianna Jun, Li Bingbing, Archie Kao, Vivian Wu, and Hugh Jackman.

Rupert Murdoch personally arranged for the film to be released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, which opened the film in North America on July 15, 2011.


In the 19th century in China, two girls named Snow Flower (Gianna Jun) and Lily (Li Bing Bing) are bonded together for eternity. They are paired as laotong (in English: old sames) by a matchmaker who is also responsible for arranging their marriages. They are isolated by their families and communicate by writing in a secret language, Nu shu (a historical practice in China in that period).

Meanwhile, in the present day Shanghai, their descendants Sophia Liao and Nina Wei struggle with the intimacy of their own childhood friendship. As teenagers, Sophia and Nina were introduced to the idea of laotong, and they signed a traditional laotong contract on the cover of Canto-pop Faye Wong's album Fu Zao (Restless in English). Faye Wong was their favorite singer and their liberated dancing to the "degenerate" sounds of the cheerful refrain "la cha bor" was one of the reasons Sophia's stepmother attempted to separate them. Eventually they are separated but come together again when Sophia falls into a coma after being struck by a taxi while cycling. Reunited, they must come to understand the story of the ancestral connection, hidden from them in the folds of the antique white silk fan, or lose one another.


  • Li Bingbing as Nina/Lily
  • Gianna Jun as Sophia/Snow Flower
  • Vivian Wu as Aunt
  • Hugh Jackman as Arthur
  • Archie Kao as Sebastian
  • Wu Jiang as Butcher
  • Angela Evans as Ballroom guest
  • Jennifer Lim (voice) as Snow Flower
  • Christina Y. Jun (voice) as Sophie


The film was produced by IDG China Media. The filming locations were Hengdian World Studios, Heng Dian, China, and Shanghai, China with many scenes at The Peninsula Hotel on the Bund.


This film received negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an overall rating of 20% in the "All Critics" category (17 fresh and 69 rotten reviews), with an average rating of 4.4/10. At Metacritic the film has received an average score of 42 out of a possible 100, based on 31 reviews.

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