The Joy Luck Club

Synopsis: Through a series of flashbacks, four young chinese women born in America and their respective mothers born in feudal China, explore their past. This search will help them understand their difficult mother/daughter relationship.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Wayne Wang
Production: Buena Vista Pictures
  Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
139 min

The old woman remembered

a swan she had bought...

many years ago in Shanghai

for a foolish sum.

"This bird," boasted

the market vendor...

"was once a duck that

stretched its neck...

in hopes

of becoming a goose.

And now look.

It is too beautiful to eat."

Then the woman and the swan

sailed across an ocean...

many thousands of li wide...

stretching their necks

toward America.

On her journey

she cooed to the swan...

"In America I will have

a daughter just like me.

But over there, nobody will say

her worth is measured...

by the loudness

of her husband's belch.

Over there, nobody will

look down on her...

because I will make her speak

only perfect American English.

And over there, she will always be

too full to swallow any sorrow.

She will know my meaning

because I will give her this swan...

a creature that became more

than what was hoped for."

But when she arrived

in the new country...

the immigration officials

pulled the swan away from her...

leaving the woman

fluttering her arms...

and with only one swan

feather for a memory.

For a long time now,

the woman had wanted...

to give her daughter

the single swan feather...

and tell her, "This feather

may look worthless...

but it comes from afar

and carries with it...

all my good intentions."

- Hi!

- Oh, Jennifer! Oh, hi!

- Hi, June.

- Hi.

Yeah, I want-- That's it.

How are you, June?

...the official line

of scrimmage. No gain.

- Come on, do or die.

Right here. Come on, do or die!

- Come on!

- All right, all right,

they're lining up for a pass!

- A pass, man!

- It's a pass! Here we go, baby!

- Fourth and seven.

- Here we go. Come on!

- Oakland.

All right, all right,

here we go! Here we go!

- Yes. Yes. Yes!

- Yeah!

Yes! I told you, man!

I told you!

Yeah, you owe me five bucks!

Every morning,

"Wave, Wave, Waverly-a!"

I do not sound like--

She's saying I sound like my--

I do not sound like my mother.

How could I be like my mother?

- And you started--

- She said that too.

- She is right, you know.

This kind of vegetable...

- What?

- Don't put Chinese cabbage in the salad.

- has to be, has to be boiled.

- I always use Chinese cabbage--

- It's bitter.

- Mmm, Dad, that smells good.

- Thanks.

- No! No!

- It will fall apart!

- Someone help me now.

- I can't believe they're still arguing.

- Come on, picture time!

- Picture time! Picture time!

All right, picture time now.

- Waverly, Waverly loves it!

- Aunt Rose! Rose!

- Rose! Rose! Rose!

- Come on, come on, come on.

- Picture, picture.

- We're ready.

- Come on.

- Oh! June.

-June. Come here.

- Come on, June!

- Get over here!

- Get over here!

-Get over here!

-Come on!

-Oh, no, that's all right, Lena.

- Come on!

- It's all right.

- No, really.

- Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead.

- Go on!

- Come on, right now.

-June, come closer, darling. Come closer.

- All right, enough.

- Enough. Time to take the picture now.

- Come on, girls.

All right, let me check your hair.

Okay, it looks nice.

- Now smile naturally, Ma.

- I always do, Waverly.

- You look beautiful.

- No, you don't. Do a nice, friendly one.

- You look younger all the time.

How is that?

- I give you my good skin.

- Really? You promise?

- You will look like me when you are older.

- Yes.

- Come close.

- I'm close, Mom.

- But don't crush my hair.

- Say cheese.

- I won't.

- Cheese!

- Cheese!

- Cheese!

Ying Ying, take this.

-My mother died four months ago.


I realized for the first time,

they wanted me to take my mother's place.

So I sat down on the East,

where things begin...

with my mother's best friends.

My mother started the Joy Luck Club,

having met all these women in church.

Auntie An Mei...

Auntie Lindo...

Auntie Ying Ying.

For 30 years,

these women feasted...

forgot past wrongs,

laughed and played...

lost and won

and told the best stories.

Each week

they hoped to be lucky...

and that hope

was their only joy.

Their connection with each other

had more to do with hope...

than joy or luck.

- You win like your mother?

- Uh, I only played once...

- with some Jewish friends in college.

- Hmph! Jewish mah-jong.

Not the same thing.

Entirely different.

Now, Chinese mah-jong

very tricky.

You have to watch

what everybody throw out...

and you keep all this

in your head.

And if nobody play well...

then the game is just like

Jewish mah-jong:
no strategy.

You American girls

play Chinese, Jewish.

What's the difference?


They were worried.

In me, they see their own daughters.

Just as ignorant of all

the hopes and dreams...

our mothers brought

to this country.

Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.

No talking in Chinese.

- Huh?

- How do I know you're not cheating?

- We would not cheat.

- You don't know, but not we.

- Ah.

You don't know, but we are your auntie,

and we are very honest people.

- We will not cheat you.

- Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe.

Hey, June, why you not

take the piano home?

You only one who play.

When I was nine years old...

my mother's version

of believing in me...

was believing that

I could be anything...

anything she wanted;

the best piano prodigy

this side of China.

I never practiced.

Lucky for me, old Mr. Chong

couldn't tell the difference.

He'd gone stone-deaf

over the years.

Me and Beethoven,

we both hear it in our head!


Now, how many sharps...

Rate this script:2.7 / 42 votes

Amy Tan

Amy Tan (born February 19, 1952) is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships and the Chinese American experience. Her novel The Joy Luck Club was adapted into a film in 1993 by director Wayne Wang. Tan has written several other novels, including The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter, Saving Fish from Drowning, and The Valley of Amazement. Tan's latest book is a memoir entitled Where The Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir (2017). In addition to these, Tan has written two children's books: The Moon Lady (1992) and Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat (1994), which was turned into an animated series that aired on PBS. Despite her success, Tan has also received substantial criticism for her depictions of Chinese culture and apparent adherence to stereotypes. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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