In present-day Shanghai, a rising young executive (Li Bing Bing) postpones relocation to her company's New York office after a traffic accident leaves her best friend (Gianna Jun) in a coma. As the businesswoman keeps a bedside vigil, she reads the invalid's unpublished manuscript, a tale of two young women who are best friends in 19th-century Hunan province. Victims of foot binding, class divides, family cruelty, and political unrest, they find solace in a secret language, writing to each other on a silk fan. In this lavish adaptation of Lisa See's novel, the complex chronologies of the parallel narratives are skillfully handled by director Wayne Wang, which makes his reliance on unbridled sentimentality all the more irritating. Hugh Jackman, who never met a song he didn't like, has a cameo as Jun's Australian husband, a nightclub owner and bilingual crooner. In English and subtitled Mandarin.