2019 | Lulu Wang | USA / China | English / Mandarin / Japanese | 100 min | PG
In this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken. With The Farewell, writer/director Lulu Wang has created a heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it, masterfully interweaving a gently humorous depiction of the good lie in action with a richly moving story of how family can unite and strengthen us, often in spite of ourselves.
“Grief and love coexist in The Farewell, as do truth and fiction, past and present, sorrow and joy. It’s an outstanding, quietly devastating, deeply personal story, and one that’s destined to put Wang firmly on the map.” —Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
“Wang, who has made only one prior feature (the little-seen 2014 comedy Posthumous), distinguishes herself as a thrilling new voice in filmmaking by crafting one of the most sensitively told stories of the year. ” –David Sims, The Atlantic