Jenn Rohm Reviews "The Farewell"
Lulu Wang has written and directed “The Farewell,” and when a film has a tagline like “a story based on an actual lie,” it is definitely intriguing. Taken from a story from the podcasts “This American Life” of a girl raised as an immigrant in America from China Lulu, has always felt a divide between Western and Eastern beliefs, which also plays a role in her story.
Billi (Awkwafina) was brought to New York by her Mother and Father as a young child from Changchun, China, and has maintained a close relationship with her Grandmother, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhou). While visiting her parents, she finds out that her grandmother has lung cancer and does not have much longer to live. The family wants to follow the Eastern culture of not letting a patient know they don’t have long to live in order for them to live their final days as well as they can (to Billi’s chagrin), so in order to get everyone together to see her one last time without raising her suspicions, they convince her only (and only male) cousin to get married. Billi’s parents don’t really want her to be there, but she finds a way so she can spend time with the grandmother that she has maintained a relationship with from afar for her entire life.
This film is not only a dramedy but also becomes a bit of a family study, with one part being on a different continent in hopes of a better life for their children and another being closer but still feeling the same weight that the rest of the family does. With them coming together at a time of high emotion, the love can be felt by this good cast working with a strong script. There are also several scenes around the table so make sure you are at a theater where you can enjoy a meal or make sure to eat before, maybe even with your own family, and take them to the theater too!