Director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) adds a contemporary element to this adaptation of Lisa See's best-selling epistolary novel, bringing it right in line with other book-to-movie hits such as The Notebook, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Possession. Li Bing-Bing and Gianna Jun play a couple of best friends in modern-day Shanghai who have fallen out of favor with one another. Meanwhile, back in 1830s China, we get another pair of BFFs (Li and Jun, doing double duty) who must endure an unending list of exquisite tragedies including foot binding, loveless marriages, civil wars and typhoid epidemics. The film is exquisitely shot, but the melodrama is so thick you couldn't cut through it with a steak knife. 120 minutes PG-13.