The Farewell

The Farewell ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Lulu Wang. Cast: Shuzhen ZhaoAwkwafinaX Mayo  

A Chinese-born American family travels to China with the excuse of a wedding, to see the old grandma one last time as she’s been diagnose with cancer. Except she doesn’t know she’s sick and they all have to try to keep the truth away from her.

It all sounds rather contrived, but as the film develops, you’ll discover that underneath the surface there’s a lot more than the film-maker wants to tell you. 

It’s clearly a film about families, and how different the meaning of “Family” is in both the West and the East. It’s also about those 2nd and 3rd generations living outside your own country. Needless to say, it touched me deeply, and even if my two countries are not that different from each other the way China and America are, I could still relate to it.

“The Farewell” is a charming and touching little gem of a film clearly at the western audience and with the intent to give a glimpse into the bonds that keeps people together and give them strength on the other side of the planet.

It may start by showing us clichés and it even seems to be laughing at the way Chinese people do certain things (picnics by tombs, renting out professional “criers” to come and weep at your funeral), but that’s just the way to let us (the wester audience) in. Then the film gradually draws you deeper and deeper into this foreign world until you almost become part of this family (and ensemble cast which feels so real! Never for a moment you think these people are acting and they are actually not a family). And by the time the last caption of the film comes up on the screen (incidentally, one of the best and happiest final captions I’ve seen in a film) as you’re wiping your tears away, you might begin to think that these “foreign” people may actually have a point.

And like all good films, this is one that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

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