The Farewell (2019)

The Farewell (2019)

Awkwafina shines in this complex culture clash comedy.

The Very Best



China, United States of America
English, Japanese, Mandarin
Comedy, Drama
Aoi Mizuhara, Awkwafina, Chen Han
100 min

What it's about

A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is given a terminal diagnosis. Billi struggles with her family's decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time.

The take

Many things clash in this beautifully layered, semi-autobiographical film of American director Lulu Wang: cultures, morals, and emotions. The result is a type of comedy that is complex and bittersweet⁠—and based on a true lie: this is the story of a Chinese grandma whose family won't tell her that she is fatally ill. Instead, they organize a fake wedding in China, where everyone gets together to bid a farewell to the unwitting matriarch (played by Zhao Shuzhen). The fake wedding is, in fact, a premature funeral for a person unaware that she is going to die. Played by rapper and comedian Awkwafina, Billi, a New-York-based Chinese-American with a complicated relationship to China, embodies the cultural and moral question at the heart of this story: is it right or wrong not tell grandma? It is thanks to Wang's deft writing and Awkwafina's outstanding performance that The Farewell homes in on answers without ever being melodramatic. Warm, honest, and beautiful.

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This is just a gorgeous film, and what a nice twist at the end! I never knew how important traditions are as an American with no family. This one has my heart!

I think it’s more dark comedy than drama, but the story is very good and I love the way it portrayed the traditions of China.

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