This week I got see the film The Farewell (2019) which is directed and written by Lulu Wang. The film has a wonderful cast, and in particular I was very touched by the performances of Awkwafina (who plays the main character Billi) and Zhao Shuzhen (who plays Nai Nai, Billi's grandmother), and Lu Hong (who plays Little Nai Nai, Nai Nai's younger sister).
The plot of this film revolves around Billi’s grandmother who is going to die from lung cancer and her family who sticking to tradition will not tell her. Yet in order for the grandmother to see her family one more time before she passes away, the family invents a story that Billi’s cousin is getting married, and they want the her to put together a wedding.
While the plot of this film holds up well, Lulu Wang does a really masterful job of letting you get to know these characters and their motivations (which is impressive given that she’s showing multiple generations and a large cast). And what’s really special about this film is that it’s drawn from life, and thus feels very personal, so much so that you feel like you’re a member of her family.
There are quite a few wonderful little vignettes in the film that are really touching, from the family cooking and sharing meals together to speeches given at a wedding. There are also quite a few wonderful touches like Billi’s grandmother trying to prod her to go out with a doctor they meet at the hospital. I think if there was one scene I really loved it would have to be the one that takes place in the graveyard where they’re paying respects to Billi’s grandfather the day before the wedding.
If you can try to catch this film while it’s still playing in movie theaters.