In The Princess of Nebraska, Wayne Wang's companion film to his other Toronto entry, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, Wang tackles adapting another short story by Yiyun Li. Wang brought to life A Thousand Years of Good Prayers with methodical pacing and the careful unfolding of a story about the conflicted relationship between Mr. Shi, a Chinese father and his adult daughter, Yilan; in Princess, Wang uses an edgier style to show us 24 hours in the life of a college student some 15 years younger than Yilan, who lives in Omaha but has traveled to San Francisco.
The two stories are unrelated, but Wang uses them to contrast the subtle generational differences between a woman raised in "old-Communist" China against a younger woman raised in the post-Tiananmen Square China infused with an influence of Western capitalism and Paris Hilton. The "princess" in the story is Sasha (newcomer Ling Li), a college student in Omaha who, after a trip to Beijing and a fling with her friend Yang, finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Sasha has traveled to San Franciso to get an abortion; why she would come so far is never made really clear, other than that Boshen (Brian Danforth), a mutual friend/lover of Yang's, lives there, and presumably he has promised her assistance.