Lulu Wang’s Sundance hit The Farewell is an intergenerational family drama that is at once celebratory, heart-wrenching and life-affirming.
Based on true events, the film follows a young Chinese American woman named Billi (Awkwafina, Crazy Rich Asians) as she travels back to China to visit her dying grandmother. Billi’s family has decided to spare their beloved matriarch the news of her terminal diagnosis so as not to darken what time she has left. In order for everyone to have a chance to say goodbye without tipping her off that the end is near, they orchestrate an elaborate excuse to reunite in the form of a fake wedding. Though cultures clash and family conflict ensues, the story is told with universally relatable warmth and charm.
Awkwafina is dazzling as the quick-witted and empathetic Billi, supported by a remarkable cast that includes the charming Tzi Ma (Meditation Park, Arrival) as her father and Diana Lin as her mother.
Little by little, we realize that this story is not only about Billi saying goodbye to her grandmother, but also about her reconnecting with a country and extended family that she left behind at a young age. The Farewell is truly remarkable. It will make you laugh out loud, cry both sad and happy tears, and contemplate the meaning of home.
“The Farewell has a special feeling about it. It’s full of truth and emotion, and lacking in sentimentality. It has an eye for absurdity and for the telling detail, and it marks Lulu Wang as a director with the rare but essential ability to make you care about what she cares about. It will go down as one of the standout movies of 2019.” (Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)
“The Farewell is so unexpectedly and deliciously funny that watching it feels like a tonic—an immersion in love and art.” (Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times)
“The Farewell pays delightful, insightful homage to the facades and pretenses nearly everyone adopts in the name of compassion.” (Ann Hornaday, Washington Post)