Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai (Shuzhen Zhao), 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.
Vulture has a great article about “The Farewell” that you should read. Here is a snippet of that article.
“Chinese people have a saying: When people get cancer, they die.” These are the words of wisdom imparted to Brooklyn twentysomething Billi (Awkwafina) by her mother while delivering the news of her beloved grandma Nai Nai’s lung cancer diagnosis. They’re clearly little comfort, but also prove to be anything but reliable in the turn of events that follows.
The Farewell, based on writer-director Lulu Wang’s own stranger-than-fiction true family story, was previously featured on the 2016 This American Life episode “In Defense of Ignorance.” But no podcast could have prepared anyone for the sophistication of Wang’s talents as a filmmaker, and in this, her second feature, she transcends the hooky premise with confidence and subtlety. The little dramas and themes that emerge during the reunion of the film’s far-flung brood become, like a family, more than the sum of its individual parts, and an incredibly satisfying meal of a film.
Read the full article – https://www.vulture.com/2019/07/the-farewell-awkwafina-sundance-movie-review.html