Thoughts on 'Princess of Nebraska'

December 4, 2008

Either way, I have to say that I enjoyed the movie. It made me want
to read all of Yiyun Li's short stories (the movie is based on one of
her stories). The movie moves a bit too slowly, but we never fast
forwarded through any of the parts. I actually had no idea what the
movie was going to be about -- I thought it was going to be
lighthearted because of the title, but it's pretty melancholy at parts.

Right now the film's got 218,276 hits on YouTube. Is this a lot or a little? I guess it depends how you look at it. On the one hand, Wayne Wang is a living legend among filmmakers (Chan is Missing, Smoke, Joy Luck Club, etc.), so you'd think hundreds of thousands of people would jump at the chance to watch one of his movies for free. At the same time, there's so much free stuff to watch online nowadays, he's probably competing for peoples' (relatively short) attention spans. On the other hand, going to the movies is sort of a treat so a free movie by a renowned director is a good deal. And actually, 200,000 is a lot of people though there's no way of telling how many people watched the whole thing.

For those of you familiar with Wang's works, including mainstream films like Maid in Manhattan, this one has a much more indie, arty and hand-held camera feel. Some of the acting is uneven but it didn't bother me too much.

For those who've seen it, what did you make of the film? And the ending? I have my own interpretation of what she did.

This blog entry is graciously sponsored by Toyota Matrix. Check out their website dedicated to the best in Asian American

Toyota Matrix


Momo Chang

Senior Contributing Editor

Momo Chang is the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media, and freelances for magazines, online publications, and weeklies. Her writings focus on Asian American communities, communities of color, and youth culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Her stories range from uncovering working conditions in nail salons, to stories about “invisible minorities” like Tongan youth and Iu Mien farmers. She has freelances The New York Times, WIRED, and East Bay Express, among other publications.



I really wanted to like this film, but I thought it was relying too much on "indie" conventions i.e. the really long takes of Sasha just...walking. Perhaps it's just my own deteriorating attention span, but these real time-esque scenes were played up as more significant or poignant than I actually thought they were. And it seemed like most of the actors were on tranquilizers in their scenes.The lead actress Ling Li does a good job of playing the disaffected, semi-unlikeable teenager. I thought that was pretty realistic. The film overall was very detached which I understand considering the storyline. But it can't be so detached that the viewer doesn't really care what the protagonist decides (or presumably decides) to do in the end.
yeah i sort of agree with sylvie. in addition, i felt that the film assumed too much for the viewer. the background story with the different men was weak, and i don't get the title. if the film's emphasize was on her and her life in china, why is she the princess from nebraska then? they hardly talked about nebraska. how did living in nebraska shape the way she is today? those were some of my questions. and the ending scene, it's just not the same if you're not watching it on a huge screen with awesome sound effects.