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La Despedida (2019)

Originaler Titel: The Farewell
IMDB 7.7

When a Chinese family finds out that the family's matriarch is dying of lung cancer, complications arise. In Chinese culture, there is a saying that when you get cancer, you die. This actually boils down to the belief that it's not the cancer that leads to the person's death, but rather the fear of dying. As such, the family orchestrates an elaborate ruse to get everyone together for a wedding, but in reality the gathering is for everyone to be able to say goodbye to the grandmother without actually letting her know the truth.

It's a fascinating premise and based on a true story (or based on an actual lie, as the film puts it). Showing aspects of Chinese culture we rarely get to see, the film takes us on a journey to China as we see modern life and urban development. How accurate it really is, I can't attest to, and there are times that it feels like there should be more or that something is more complex and we're being given the fortune cookie version, so to speak. The film does steer clear of politics, so that is not a factor here.

This is a beautiful film not just through visual aesthetics but also on a character level. We see how each character faces the impending death of the grandmother differently, such as the daughter-in-law being very matter of fact about it while her husband (the grandmother's son) is being torn up inside, all while the wise and experienced grandmother continues to dispense advice, oblivious to her diagnosis. It details the variety of relationships we can develop in our life as no two relationships are the same, but they all still love each other despite some distance between certain relatives. There's something that, despite the comedic premise (it's sort of a comedy that's not particularly funny), is very grounded and very real. I couldn't help but see some of my own relationships reflected on the screen.

Beautiful, heartbreaking, and at the same time somewhat hopeful, "The Farewell" comes highly recommended.
Charles Okey

The Farewell is a bittersweet Chinese tragicomedy that has the potential to become an Academy Award winner for Best International Feature Film. The movie revolves around an elderly Chinese lady who suffers from an incurable cancer. Her sister however hides this information from her and instead tries to bring all the family together for one last time. A hastily arranged wedding between a grandson and his Japanese girlfriend serves as purpose for the family members abroad to come back to Changchun. However, the burden of this lie is heavy and conflicts, confusion and misunderstandings soon occur.

The most interesting question about this movie is how you would deal with a situation such as the one portrayed in this film if someone close to you were concerned and how you would like to be treated if you were in a similar situation yourself. The family members in this film try to carry the burden together and decide to not tell the aged grandmother that she is dying. There is no right way to deal with such a difficult decision. If you hide the truth, you might prevent the other person to live every day as if it were the last day and to say farewell. If you tell the truth, you will cause an immense emotional burden to the concerned person who will live in fear of dying every single day. The Farewell offers much food for thought and also shows how differently Western and Eastern cultures approach such a scenario.

The acting performances in this film are outstanding. Every character has its own identity from the drunk war veteran who was in love with the elderly lady over the chubby grandchild who is addicted to technology to the deaf housemate who is the only one to mind his own business. Lead actress Nora Lum convinces as concerned granddaughter who disagrees with her family's strategy of hiding the truth from her grandmother and who also has some financial and social problems of her own. Shuzhen Zhao steals the show in her very first movie as headstrong elderly lady with a heart of gold.

The movie portrays the differences between Western and Eastern cultures cleverly and also portrays how the Chinese society is changing. People have become greedy capitalists looking for financial opportunities abroad but also try to embrace their ethnic heritage at the same time. Changchun has developed from a rather small city with less than a million citizens to a gigantic city with close to eight million citizens in only fifty years. The movie shows how gigantic buildings and monuments have replaced small houses and gardens.

The Farewell also has alight-hearted side and manages to cheer its audience up despite numerous heartbreaking moments. The subtle humour works very well and includes drunk war veterans declaring their romantic feelings, hilarious karaoke performances during the wedding and several running jokes in form of the careless deaf housemate and the disconnected overweight grandson.

In the end, The Farewell is an emotional tragicomedy with a profound message: to spend as much time with your loved ones as you can while you can. As someone who is living abroad and far away from his family, I can truly empathize with the movie's meaningful message. Give this movie the chance to inspire your brain and warm your heart.

Billi (Awkwafina) is a young Chinese New Yorker struggling to make her way in the world. She has a place of her own to distance herself from her parents - Haiyan ("Arrival"'s Tzi Ma) and Lu Jian (Diana Lin) - but is struggling to fund it. But despite a typically spiky teenage relationship with her parents, family is important to her.

There's a big shock then when her beloved "Nai Nai" (Shuzhen Zhao) is diagnosed back in China with terminal cancer. The slight complication is that no-one has told her. Her younger sister (Hong Lu) has taken the decision to keep the news from her. This is in line with the Chinese saying "When people get Cancer they die". (Based on the rationale that it is not necessarily the disease that kills you, but the fear that destroys your useful life).

The whole extended family sign up - reluctantly - to the decision. They stage a final get together back in China around the pretence of a trumped-up wedding. This is between the comically reluctant grandson Hao Hao (Han Chen) and his new Japanese girlfriend Aiko (Aoi Mizuhara).

Faced with seeing Nai Nai face-to-face, and being forced to "celebrate" together, can the family - and the emotionally attached Billi in particular - hold it together and keep the secret?

You might naturally assume that given the subject matter that this was going to be SERIOUSLY heavy going. And in many ways you would be right. Most of us over 50 will have lost an elderly relative. And, unless it was a sudden event, you have probably been through the mental pain of having to drive away from a nursing home certain that that will be the final time you will see your loved one alive. If you are therefore not affected by this film, you are not human.

However, the film is so beautifully put together, and the comedy - albeit some of it very dark - so brilliantly inserted that the film is an UTTER DELIGHT from start to end. There are truly insightful scenes that get under the skin of the well-developed social approach in China to family. (Like my wife they love big family dinners around a round-table!) Although there is always the teen - Bau (Jinhang Liu) in this case - with his face permanently in his phone!

There are also scenes familiar to anyone who's visited China. The gaggle of "helpful" taxi drivers outside the airport made me laugh out loud.

Also (unintentionally) funny are the multiple company logos at the start of the film. (This is reminiscent of a classic "Family Guy" scene).

For such a 'small' film, the scale is sometimes truly cinematic. Director and writer, Lulu Wang, achieves some gloriously memorable movie moments. A stony-faced, determined march of the key players towards the camera - which could be subtitled "The Magnificent Eight" - is slo-mo'd for about 30 seconds and is utterly mesmeric. And a scene at a cemetery is a comic masterpiece of Chinese tradition. Bau of course still has his face in his phone throughout!

This is only Lulu Wang's second feature, but it makes me now want to check out her first film ("Posthumous").

What I found particularly interesting is that the film is truly multi-cultural. It's not an American film with some local content crudely inserted to cater for the Far East markets. The film is an almost equal blend of American language and Mandarin language with subtitles.

Lulu Wang is also not afraid to upset officials in either country. Which is better: US or China? The question keeps getting posed to Billi and discussed among the family. And - as you might expect - there are positives and negatives on each side. The film doesn't really take sides. It's a really balanced position to take.

The music is by Alex Weston, and its one of the stars of the film. It's truly quirky with everything as diverse as a vocalised version of Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 "Pathetique"; a karaoke version of "Killing Me Softly"; and a hugely entertaining Chinese version of Niilson's "Without You" over the end titles.

It's a brilliant ensemble cast (SAG awards, are you listening?), and everyone pulls their weight. Even the minor members of the cast are superb: Aoi Mizuhara in particular displays acute awkwardness brilliantly!

But leading the charge is Awkwafina. She was in the disappointing "Ocean's 8" but much more memorable in "Crazy Rich Asians" as Rachel's wacky Singapore friend. Here it's a bravado performance that is genuinely moving. She IS the slightly sulky but emotionally crushed teen.

"Sub-titles? I don't do sub-titles" - Get a grip! Yes, this is a film that has sub-titles. But it uses them when required (unless you happen to be fluent in Mandarin that is!). There is also a large percentage of the film that is in English. It's all eminently watchable, even for "sub-title-phobes".

This is a feelgood film about a tough subject. The ending of the film pulls off the trick of being both devastating and uplifting at the same time.

So get yourself to the cinema and see this film! Without question, it gets my "highly recommended" tag. It's also firmly placed itself very high up in my "Films of the Year" list.

And it's all "based on a true lie"!

(For the full graphical review, please go to One Mann's Movies on the web or Facebook. Thanks).

Billi Wang (Akwafina) is a young aspiring writer in New York whose family had immigrated from China when she was six years old. She maintains a happy telephone relationship with her paternal grandmother, Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) who still lives in China in the city of Changchun. Billi's family has received news from another relative that Nai Nai is dying of lung cancer. The extended families travel to Changchun to celebrate the wedding of Billi's cousin although the collective intention is really to say goodbye to Nai Nai - while withholding the news from her that she is dying.

Throughout the film - and especially by the end, it is very clear that is biographical and based on the experiences of the film's talented writer/director Lulu Wang. The story is rich for various reasons including its unique take on the universal theme of dealing with the impending death of a beloved elderly relative.

Billi is also a stand-in for many "new world" North Americans who would find it terribly wrong to withhold from anyone the fact that they are dying. Her points are well expressed but so are the contradictory replies from her elders and those more in line with a Chinese cultural tradition of such secrecy. The reply to the question "who's right" is answered in Nai Nai's laid-back, content demeanour (when not coughing), totally oblivious to her diagnosis. This is one of the fascinating surprises of "The Farewell" in its acquiescence to old-world values in subtle ways. Here, Wang must be given credit for her humility. She seems to have nodded to a sarcastic quote attributed to Oscar Wilde: "I am not young enough to know everything".

The main story is powerful enough; yet Wang adds to the wealth by delving into the immigration experience - for those who left their homeland as well as those left behind. Here again, she takes on a universal theme. In conversations and monologues, the viewer hears what it is like to lose all of one's children (two sons in this case) as they leave the homeland (Nai Nai's other son emigrated to Japan). Billi also has a powerful monologue of what it was like to leave behind an extended family and community when she was six. While intelligently avoiding platitudes, the film asks: is there really a 'better life' somewhere else?

The fine cast does justice to Wang's eloquent story. Awkwafina fits well in the lead role and Zhao's Nai Nai is so loveable that she makes it very easy to see why so many would grieve her impending death. One particular scene stands out even though it is brief: Billi's mother (Diana Lin) quietly avoiding eye contact in a taxi while fighting back tears. In less than a minute, Lin conveys an experience of every adult at least once in our lives.


Linkoski Maid

It is useless for people to be so picky about the fact that the film does not transmit the long-awaited emotions. The title of the film in in the italian version is flanked by the phrase "a lie for good" and everything is explained in this sentence. Lulu Wang's work revolves around a lie and the psychological consequences of the characters and their first characterization followed by a second and final one that the lie itself causes. Everything is directed with simplicity and skill, capturing the nuances of a well-rooted culture in a casual chinese family where there is also the theme of immigration and their values absorbed and merged by other cultures. The film succeeds in this message, manages to convey emotions and fictitiously by its own representation of the farewell. A masterpiece of a lie.
Drusy Darm

Lulu Wang's story of an independent Chinese-American woman returning to China when her beloved grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, is nothing less but captivating. From the very first shot inside a hospital, the director invites you to tag along with this Chinese family, while they struggle to keep the truth from grandma and decide to stage a wedding, just to see her one last time.

Billi (Awkwafina), a twenty-something millennial, lives her life like most New Yorkers do - barely able to pay rent and on the lookout for a new job, she still goes home to mom and dad to do her laundry, knowing well enough she'll have to endure the parental comments while under the same roof. When her mother (Diana Lin) announces the imminent wedding of Billi's cousin, she realises something isn't right. Pressured by Billi's suspicion, her parents quickly confess to the terminal state her grandma Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) is in. Shocked by the news, it doesn't take long before they all end up around the dinner table at Nai Nai back in China, faking their true feelings around the clock.

Wang knows how to direct this tragically heartfelt story in a way not only Chinese families can relate. I, for one, could definitely look back at how my family used to keep secrets from certain relatives, just to "protect" them. Billi's family has problems of their own, with underlying tensions waiting to rise to the surface, and no one is holding back.

Anna Franquesa Solano's cinematography is a beauty. Most of the time, it's as if you're walking through an art gallery - strolling past one lifelike portrait after another. Truly exquisite is the way she captures the feelings of each individual. The vulnerability and sadness in their eyes, conflict with the constant "joie-de-vivre" the old Nai Nai still has going for her.

Everyone knows how good Awkwafina is at comedy, but who knew she'd be able to peel off every layer of that mask, to get to the core of her vulnerable emotions? She and Shuzhen are two peas in a pod, when it comes to giving groundbreaking performances. Shuzhen touches you in a way you can't imagine. An old lady with a big heart and a big mouth, keeping traditions alive while holding her own family together. The gloominess of her diagnosis lingers like a storm, which transcends into a mostly ominous score by Alex Weston.

With The Farewell, A24 can add another classic to their collection, which will go down in the history books as a turning point for Awkwafina and Lulu Wang's careers. A tragically beautiful story that makes you homesick and wants you to hold on to what we sometimes take for granted. Coming home has never felt more therapeutic.

This film so expertly balances the emotion and humor of keeping a secret. No matter how dire the secret may be, it can often lead to awkward moments. The films soars when it depicts the interactions of all of the family members. It lacks, slightly, in the department of character development. The film stays transfixed on its main plot and doesn't stray for time with the outside family members. That being said, the film provides a ride that is absolutely worth watching.
Conlen Karsnak

A beautiful portrayal of a long farewell and an insight into the difference between western an eastern culture. Powerful performances through and well worth a watch.
September Brugnoli

Shuzhen Zhao's hospital report says she has terminal cancer. She has perhaps four months to live. They don't tell her. Instead, the family rushes the marriage of Awkafina's cousin so that they can gather with one one last time, without letting her know anything is wrong.

It's been many years since a good friend insisted I look at Ang Lee's THE WEDDING BANQUET and EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN one after the other. When they were done, he said "Well?" and I said "They're so Jewish!" With his comedies of manners about an emigrant culture that sustains itself willy-nilly, rejected by and rejecting the mainstream, both groups are similar in their reliance on family and the dinner table as a means of staying together. Writer-director Lulu Wang's movie is of a piece with these two, with some very entertaining performances, and insight into what family means to people who are forced to be apart.

The Farewell is one of the most original stories I have seen from Hollywood in a very long time. This is a very powerful story from start to finish and I really enjoyed watching the characters develop and react differently to the news of the impending death of the grandmother character. The actors were all superb and delivered far and beyond from start to finish and it worked so well to produce one of the most heartbreaking and powerful films of 2019.

I enjoyed the side commentary of the differences in the Western and the Eastern cultures as the film takes us on a journey that gave a conflicted main character caught between two cultures. The resulting self discovery was so grounded and real that I can see my own conflicts being reflected on the big screen.

One of the best films of 2019, "The Farewell" is beautifully directed, emotional at its core and was simply a superb time.
Brew Hotaki

The Farewell is phenomenal and one of the best films of 2019.

Awkwafina sheds her usual persona to take on this role and she is truly fantastic. The real standout here, however, is Shuzhen Zhao as Nai Nai. She's funny, down to Earth, and absolutely heartbreaking. It's a brilliant performance from a phenomenal older Chinese actress and I hope she's remembered come award season (same with Awkwafina).

Lulu Wang has written an absolutely beautiful and personal film and has clearly poured her heart out into it. Her dialogue is funny, human, and poetic. Most of the film is in Mandarin, but don't worry. The translations have kept the jokes truly funny and the dramatic moments have retained their weight. It's a pretty bilingual film, so if subtitles worry you, don't worry. It's a great screenplay.

I think this is an extremely accessible film that you can bring the whole family to and I hope it gets a wide release and does well. I can't recommend it enough. I hope it does well financially and gets award recognition. I like to see beautiful, small, personal projects do well and this is a truly great movie.

Every year, there's a mediocre indie movie that critics shower with unearned praise and the non-discerning public (mostly pseudo intellectual liberal-types), in turn, flock to it like sheep and shower it with even more undeserving praise; where they're usually just parroting the talking points they read in a review. Ladies and gentleman, The Farewell is one of those films.

This movie was a total pointless bore. There's no plot, no laughs, no truth and no artistry. Awkwafina's character has zero arc. By the end of the film, she's the same 30 year old spinster we meet at the beginning of the film. Throughout the movie, she's just a passive observer watching things happen and reacting to things happening around her and then the movie ends.

It's sad that people rating this film so highly are doing it solely on the basis of "representation" and "diversity". Let's be honest, if the same movie was made about a white family, it would be immediately dismissed as Lifetime movie channel fodder. And no, I'm not white.

In these ultra PC times, film critics and the public seem to award points for good intentions versus the actual merits of the movie. It's kind of sad we can't be honest when critiquing films anymore. That used to be part of the fun in watching movies. Now we're stuck with forgettable trash like this posing as some amazing work of art.
Some facts first. With this, her second feature, writer-director Lulu Wang shares her very personal experience with the audience, a story "based on a true lie", as she wittily puts it. This is a U.S. movie with its dialogue mainly in Mandarin, set in the city of Changchun in North-eastern China. "The farewell" enjoys an enviable collection of ratings: critics' Metascore of 89, users' 8.0 and Rotten Tomato's 99!

As the onscreen realization of Wang, protagonist Billi (Awkwafina) is a thirty-year-old New Yorker, immigrated with her parent when she was a small child, leaving behind a world she was familiar and comfortable with. Today, the "Americanized" family converse in English (parents still with distinct accents while Billi indistinguishable from a born New Yorker) although Billi can still carry a conversation in Mandarin if necessary, such as when going to visit her hometown in China.

The movie opens with Billi talking on her cell phone with Nai Nai (grandma) half way around the globe, with intimacy playful and affectionate, both. The old lady is waiting at the hospital for test result for her incessant coughing. The narrative moves briskly to the parents telling Billi that they are going to Changchun tomorrow to attend the wedding of her cousin Hao Hao who, like her, had immigrated when a small child, but to Japan. The joy of the occasion, however, is not reflected in the parent's gloomy silence. With persistence, Billi finally finds out that while the wedding is a happy occasion, it is also sort of a proxy funeral. Hao Hao has been with his Japanese girlfriend Aiko for only a few months but things cannot wait. Nai Nai, unknown to herself, has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and has been given three months to live, if that. Close members of the family would know that this is their last farewell to Nai Nai, who is the only person in the dark. The parents do not want Billi to go because her natural emotions would likely betray her. The day after the parent's arrival at Changchun, at a family dinner, Billi shows up. The rest of the story takes place in Changchun.

A very remarkable thing I gradually noticed was the natural and simple tone of the narrative. While the main plotline of a "proxy funeral" (I coined) is somewhat unusual, the subject matter is familiar: the ethics of whether to let a terminally ill patients know their condition. Even more familiar are the backdrops of cultural clashes, identity issues of immigrants, mother- and daughter-in-law relationship, just to name the three most universal ones. Low-key, natural and non-judgmental, Wang's style in relating these issues is a credit to her. All these, together with the universality, add up to a world you can easily relate to, and immerse in. As well, there is the highly welcomed absence of stereotyped cliché, which is tantamount to talking to you in a refreshingly calm voice instead of yelling and shouting to get your attention.

By the end of the movie, you feel like being a part of the family, embracing their endearing qualities as well as understandable shortcomings. Most wonderful is Nai Nai, irrepressible, young-at-heart but at the same time also observant and considerate. Hao Hao the bridegroom, with a head of loveable shaggy hair, is a kidult who, while taciturn outwardly, has been endowed with passionate emotions. His Japanese bride Aiko, speaking no Chinese, gives a very nice speech at the wedding (in Japanese, with a translator). The very fact that she has agreed to this rushed marriage shows her kind and accommodating nature. The father carries the burden of the first generation as well as he can. The mother has a steely disposition which her husband sometimes leans on. The uncle (Hao Hao's father) is all common sense and self-control, until he breaks down in uncontrollable tears speaking in his son's wedding, thanking "the most important person", his mother, who has made all the sacrifices living as a widow without her sons by her side all these years. There are quite a few other characters, minor but all given their moments in the movie.

Now, to the cast. Awkwafina (Nora Lam) is probably best known to the general audience as a first-rate scene-stealer after "Ocean's 8" and "Crazy Rich Asians". The interesting thing is that she was cast for this movie before the other two. Here, you see her with an entirely different persona. As Billi the struggling artist in the Big Apple, she is effortlessly natural: low-key, no-nonsense, grounded and a little bit defiant. This fits in perfectly with the tone of the movie which is never mawkish or sentimental. This approach of Wang's makes the affection between grandmother and granddaughter that much more touching. Two other women in the cast both gave solid performances: Shuzhen Zhao as Nai Nai and Diana Lin as the mother, particularly the former. Playing the father is Tzi Ma whose face will be familiar, if you have watched the series "The man in the high castle", as the Japanese general.

This is not exactly the sort of movie where you wonder if there is a post credit scene. But you will stay back for the end credit if you have a soft spot for "Without you", be it Mariah Carey's, Air Supply's, or any other version. Here, we hear a rendition by Fredo Viola's beautiful lyric tenor.
Teryn Franc

I never felt compelled to post a review on until I came on here and saw all these 10/10 ratings. What the heck are you people smoking?

As a Chinese American, I'm really disappointed by the blind support this film is receiving. There are so many great Asian and Asian American directors and films that go completely unnoticed by the general American public but shamelessly unremarkable stuff like The Farewell seems to grab the spotlight.

I REALLY wanted to like this movie but as the film dragged on, I started realizing it had no point and nothing to say. For example, you could have completely removed Awkwafina's character and the film would have played out exactly the same. She is virtually inconsequential to the story.

Having experienced a recent loss in my family, I was hoping to relate to the film but everything on screen felt phony and disingenuous. It felt like director Lulu Wang was trying to go for a dark comedy about a dysfunctional family but ended up with something closer to a bad episode of The Golden Girls.

Guarda tu dinero.

It still amazes me how a film could show a superficial understanding of foreign culture and immigration experience even when it was largely filmed in another country. The overuse of melodramatic score and mediocre cinematography at once appear cringey; it may also indicate that the director/writer lacks a good story to tell. Awkwafina, with her charisma, almost singlehandedly saved the film. The rest of it is filled with superficiality and insincerity, which even add up to kitsch. The story is not a complicated one, yet the script avoids almost every possible deep discussion by blaming the conflicts to "the differences between the East and the West." Linguistic inequality plays a role, but there are hardly ever any substantial dialogues between the family members, which renders the "Eastern family" idea advocated in the movie ridiculous. There are, in reality, so many things to talk, or at least to hint, about: Cultural Revolution the grandmother certainly went through, the Tiananmen Square protests that the parents possibly experienced, first-gen immigrant experience, identity confusion of Billi, just to name a few. Wasting lots of scenes on suburban China's "rituals," the film did a terrible job depicting both Asia and Asian-Americans. It then leads to the portrayal of the family members, which also fails. I can quickly name that the grandmother are the mother are authoritarian, the cousin introverted, etc. The Japanese woman is like an ornament to the Chinese family. What strikes me is the absence of male figures in Billi's family, which made me wonder how Billi still managed to become a wonderful person she is of today given her mother hardly listened. Even Billi, the only humane figure in the whole film (and she was raised in the US, which implies something), seems to be lacking internal struggle and social connection. As a whole, this family is atomized even when people gather together.
Trula Castelli

I had a high anticipation for this movie, because I love the main actress Awkwafina and I also like other good actors and actress, however, the script was so lifeless, and without meanings, except some cliche, therefore, those who acted in this movie, all like mannequins without souls and life and contents. Some people compared this director to Ang Lee, in my opinion, it is a total insult to one of the greatest directors of our time.

The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang, played tug-of-war with my emotions as I felt a constant push and pull between crying and smiling! I became a part of Billi's family, empathizing with the family members because they reminded me of my own.

Based on an actual lie, The Farewell tells the story of Billi (Awkwafina), a Chinese immigrant in America, and the relationship with her grandmother, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhou), who lives in China. When Billi finds out that her grandmother only has a few months left to live, Billi must grapple with the fact that her family doesn't wish to tell Nai Nai. Along with dealing with Nai Nai's imminent death, Billi struggles with her Chinese and American roots.

The power of The Farewell comes from its simplicity. The most powerful scenes are those without music or dialogue, just Billi alone with her emotions. These scenes last several seconds and act as a window into Billi's heart. Awkwafina fully transforms into her character, letting her eyes convey Billi's indescribable pain to the audience. The cinematography by Anna Franquesa and Solano assists in amplifying the effect of the actors' emotions. The camera often frames Billi in the center of the screen, whether she is amongst a sea of people or alone in her room. Each time the camera does so, I felt how the sorrow forms a small bubble around her that is only visible to the audience, especially if she is pretending to smile or laugh. Once again, there is a simplicity in the cinematography that carries power. This simplicity even extends to the music by Alex Weston. The music is comprised of only a few string instruments and a simple melody. However, every time it plays it reflects the emotions of Billi, giving me goosebumps.

My favorite part is how this movie depicts immigrant families and their struggles. Being Indian, but born and brought up in America, I found several similarities between Nai Nai and my own mother and grandmother. At certain moments, I was laughing out loud because Nai Nai says something that I have heard countless times in my own family. In this way, The Farewell brings a story that millions of American families can relate to, that is not often found in Hollywood movies.

The message is that family is precious. I give The Farewell 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Be sure to check out The Farewell which opened in theatres nationwide July 12, 2019.

Revisado por Sahiba K., ¡LOS NIÑOS PRIMERO! Critico de cine. Para obtener más comentarios de los jóvenes, visite kidsfirst dot org.
Baillie Wissel

I agree with most of the under '5' ratings here. Kinda boring in parts, couldn't get "into" the film with the family, poor cinematography, and blah acting from some. I an "ABC," American-born Chinese from San Francisco and would have like to recommend this film to my family but I can't. I suggest they see Joy Luck Club again.
Dionisio Dragos

I kept waiting to get emotionally involved, and bought my ticket hoping that I would, but the only line I found fulfilling was the grandmother telling her granddaughter that in China people see themselves as a part of the whole instead of her American view of being strictly an individual. (She said it better) The only good thing about this movie was that it got my wife and I out on a date.
Winter Hoefel

I am a Chinese living in America. I can relate to the whole experience of Billi played by Awkwafina. This movie is way better than "Crazy Rich Asians" and even compatible with "The Joy Luck Club." There are small details that we can all relate to growing up with our grandparents and witnessing their health declining. This movie is very touching, and it is broader than just culture by itself. It also talks about individual identity and family responsibility, life and death, and the human experience. At the theater, I saw a white lady beside me crying as hard as I did...

This movie should not be missed. I consider it as an Oscar Contender.
First things first, as I don't fall in the target demographic for The Farewell, I'll acknowledge that I might not be the best source of information about it. Anyway, with that out of the way, I'd like to suggest to you that The Farewell was a bit slow and at times, it was unsatisfying. Anyway, this movie will appeal to some. That it didn't appeal to me is no great surprise.
Aley Kapanke

Awkwafina stars as a young Asian-American professional woman in this down-to-earth, insightful film about a Chinese family that confronts the discovery of an aging grandmother being diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. The family is determined to not tell the grandmother about her condition so as to allow her the best state of mind as she lives out the remainder of her life.

Tremendous performances make this film, which would not be the same achievement without the acting that makes these characters utterly real, without judging them or resorting to weepy melodrama. In addition, there is the theme of a clash of views between Asian-Americans who have learned western values and the long-standing traditional values of Chinese families. There is also a contrast in backdrops, with Awkwafina's protagonist's laid-back lifestyle at home in New York compared to the sterile, concrete character of China.

Although the film has a comedic element with Awkwafina at the helm, this is more a slow-burn film about the psychological toll of impending family loss. It is never overdone and there are no cheap tears here. This film, in the end, earns its emotional impact. I don't cry watching a film, but I came close here. For patient viewers, this will is a must-see. Gladly recommended.
Flatto Branscombe

I was surprised at how really unpleasant this film was. I think there were a lot of missing ingredients but mostly this movie relies on very familiar and unoriginal Hollywood storytelling devices. So, I felt like there was nothing original, vital or interesting happening on screen. There are no difficult questions here but there are a lot of bromides about east and west, family, Asia, etc. It's all predigested for today's audience which is perhaps not in the mood for anything uncomfortable or difficult. I have to say that the acting was really especially bad; they seemed like soap opera actors. However, the director doesn't help them out either. There are a bunch of scenes in which the actors are supposed to be reaching some dramatic moment but they just look like they're acting. That could be the director's fault or the weakness of the script too.

This was such an unnecessary waste of time. I don't even understand how or why this movie got made. I understand it before going to see it and assumed we would find out why the lie was one that was such an important line to keep and that isn't the case, there is simply no explanation. There was no emotion or comedy and the acting was not good, nor was there anything else to the lackluster plot. This story could've been told in two minutes and it was so slow and painful to sit there and it was pointless. The idea of the story drew me to see it, but I felt zero emotion from the characters and we didn't even really get a glimpse about the Grandmother's life or the story and history of the family. Absolutely awful!!!
Talbot Sheley

Saw this movie last week because my friend had free tickets. As an Asian American, I had high expectations for this but it just left me feeling very "meh". It was supposed to be a comedy but I only laughed two or three times. It was more of a melodrama if nothing else.

The performances were okay. No one impressed me and I thought Awkwafina was passable at best. Most of the time she was just moping around and looking sad.

I know this is supposed to be some kind of important movie dealing with a serious topic but I just found myself really bored and un-engaged. Don't get me wrong, it was well made and all but it just didn't do it for me. I felt like I was at my cousins' house listening to them argue about random BS and couldn't wait to leave.

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