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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...
I watched this movie on the day my Uncle died after I visited him a few weeks ago to say goodbye. He had cancer all over. At least he still had his mind. My Mother is also dying. Her mind has wasted away. I'm consistently saying goodbye to her, every day. This movie makes me feel okay to think of them both. Plus, this film featured the one song I remember my Mother telling me she *hated* - "Killing Me Softly" by The Fugees. Kinda serendipitous.
This is a lot of info, but yeah. Thank you, Lulu Wang.
In The Farewell, Lulu Wang tells a personal story with the always watchable Awkwafina as her stand-in, a story shades of which happened in her family, but is apparently pretty common in China. Basically, "Billi"'s grandmother is dying of cancer, but the family chooses not to tell her so as to smother up her spirits. A wedding is quickly organized (and it's still ambiguous to me if it's real or a put-on) as an excuse to see her one last time. This is an immigrant's story, as much about missing home and confronting how one's adoptive country can change a person, and of course, how immigration affects the larger family in spite of the opportunities it affords. It's also very specific about Chinese tradition, and uses Billi as a fish out of water through which differences can be explored (though this is perhaps less strange to Western audiences who've experienced a lot of Chinese cinema, as is my case), which does lead to some gentle comedy, as well as an important character turn. Feeling weepy through those chuckles is completely natural, and the film comes off as sensitive rather than flashy or clever, and that's no bad thing.
Such a great acting by Awkwafina and directing by Lulu Wang
Definitely a big snub at some awards
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