This Asian American lesbian love story is one of the best romantic comedies of the aughts

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The 2004 romantic comedy Saving Face starts with a premise that feels both quietly revolutionary and just a touch familiar. Young surgeon Wilhelmina “Wil” Pang (Michelle Krusiec) finds herself at odds with the more conservative streak of her Chinese-American immigrant community in Flushing, Queens. While her widowed, propriety-minded mom Gao Hwei-Lan (Joan Chen) keeps trying to set her up with eligible men, Wil actually has eyes for self-assured ballerina Vivian Shing (Lynn Chen). But Wil has to keep her sexuality a secret lest she insult the “face”—or social honor—of her family. The opening few minutes of Saving Face promise a story like My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Bend It Like Beckhamin which the plucky daughter of immigrants helps expand her community’s horizons with the depth of her passion. And then Hwei-Lan shows up on her daughter’s doorstep, 48 years old, unwed, pregnant, and with nowhere else to go.

Caroline Siede looks back at one of the best romantic comedies of the aughts—Saving Face. Read her full retrospective here.