Mrs Yi replies, “Mrs Mai, I already have your phone number.” It’s a call of Mrs Mai’s bluff, but Joan Chen cleverly subdues Mrs Yi’s voice, and then drops her eyes as she discards her tile.
In other words, Mrs Mai hasn’t fooled Mrs Yi, but the latter makes no fuss.
Now that Mrs Yi has claimed three of the one tile that Mrs Mai needs, it is highly unlikely that Mrs Mai will be able to complete that set.
This is especially since one can only claim discarded tiles using 吃 tile, thus being able to withhold from discarding that tile if he has it in his hand.
Triumphant, Mrs Mai now claims Mrs Yi’s discarded tile with a 碰 , and sallies on with her plan, hastily scribbling the rest of her “un-needed” phone number before claiming Mrs Yi’s tile: We have now entered the last round of this game.
Mr Yi makes his move, then bends to his right to reach for a snack. The fourth player, Mrs Xiao, topples Mr Yi’s tiles to check that he has been legitimately discarding tiles to form a good hand, not simply feeding Mrs Mai her winning tiles, and finds that she is unable to accuse him of any foul play (Mr Yi is smarter than that): Mrs Yi, to Mrs Mai: “You seem to have a fair bit of luck today.” As she says this, she throws a knowing glance at her husband.
It was inserted in part because Michelle Yeoh, who delivers an amazing steel-and-silk performance as the movie’s main antagonist, refused to play the stock villainous tiger mom from the book.
This scene provides her with critical impetus toward her eventual redemption.
Tiles have numbers and suits, which can be combined into winning hands through sets of either matching numbers or suited numerically sequential tiles, just like in gin rummy.
Each player’s hand is 13 tiles throughout the game, though the pickup of a 14th tile is needed to win.