Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is about two sets of friendship between women in two different times in history.
One pair of women, Snow Flower and Lily, live in traditional 19th-century China, when girls have their feet bound; the other pair, Sophia and Nina, live in modern Shanghai. Both pairs are played by the same actresses, Chinese star Li Bingbing and South Korean Jun Ji-hyun.
Based on a 2005 novel written by Chinese-American author Lisa See, the movie was directed by Wayne Wang, who also directed The Joy Luck Club (1993) and A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2007). Wang is well-known for depicting subtle and complicated relationships.
The film is captivating in the way it takes viewers through time to the interesting history of laotong, the practice of being sworn sisters, and how they communicate through a secret language of women's writing, called nu shu, on a fan. The slow pace of the story brings out the touchingly quiet, but strong relationship.
The parallel stories show how female friendships remain strong and important for women despite changes in time and society. The film also reminds us of an equally, if not more, important relationship for women other than marriage; ties that will remain through hardship - and for a lifetime.