Book to Movie: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When I noticed that Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was on Netflix, I jumped at the chance to watch it, having just finished the book. The movie had several differences from the book, but I think the changes helped the book transition well to a film format.

The book focuses only on the relationship of Snow Flower and Lily, but the movie begins with two modern-day girls, Nina and Sophia, who are close friends, but who slowly drift apart. As Nina and Sophia's relationship changes with careers, boyfriends, and family, they drift apart until a tragic accident causes Nina to look into Sophia's recent past. She finds a book that Sophia has been writing, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which is the story from the book and, in the movie, is based on Sophia's ancestor.

The narrative in the book is slow and dreamy, and was told in a short few scenes in the movie. While some details were left out, I think the medium was effective interspersed with the drama between the two modern girls. I also think that the message was more clear and relatable with the modern perspective of two girls going through a similar experience in their lives to the two girls from history.

I enjoyed the slow, dreamlike quality of the movie despite the fact that at times it dragged. It is contemplative but has moments of genuine beauty. If fans of the book are not overly concerned about perfect faithfulness to the original story, I think they will find something to enjoy in the movie adaptation. For those who found the book difficult to relate to, the movie tells a more condensed version of the story with ties to modern times.


  1. I can't believe they added the modern characters - that is quite a big change! I'm glad you enjoyed the film overall, like you I enjoyed the book so I'm sure I'll get to see the film at some point.

    1. I know -- I was really surprised when I started the movie. I think it was pretty good and worth a watch, although it may not be for everyone.


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