The Farewell (2019) Review


When a Chinese family discover that their grandmother has terminal cancer they decide to lie to her and schedule a wedding to get the whole family back together in China again.


The Farewell is a fantastic film from start to finish and really does give you something to think about when it comes to terminal illness. Based on an actual lie is put up on the screen just before the film starts and that is something that is true. Lulu Wang has based it all on her own life and her own grandmother.

Billi is Chinese/American having moved to the United States when she was only 6 years old with her mother and father. Having contact with her Nai Nai via phone calls, which also tests out her Chinese. She is currently struggling to get her life on track as she awaits news of a fellowship programme.

Her mother and father suddenly seem to be hiding something from her, as a viewer we have seen Nai Nai in hospital having tests. It is confirmed to be cancer but in China they decide not to tell the person when it is cancer and in particular when it is terminal. Now this is something that I found truly interesting, as the family gather and Billi goes against everyone’s wishes as apparently she cannot hide her emotions.

As Billi arrives they all seem to think she will let it slip to Nai Nai, even though her more American values are hard to deal with she manages to stay strong for herself as well. It is something that is good to watch unfold as we really are unsure if she will mention anything. They use the disguise of Haiyan her cousins wedding to get everyone together, he has been raised in Japan with his parents. Nai Nai has two sons who have not been in China at the same time for over 25 years.

The lengths they must go to keeping the diagnosis from her means having to forge letters and attempt to keep a good spirit before, during and after the wedding. The scene of Billi leaving is truly emotional and I can still see Nai Nai standing alone in the street as the car pulls way taking them to the airport, it is easily one of the best scenes that I have seen at the cinema this year.

Awkwafina is truly outstanding from the first moment to the last and it really is fantastic to see the different type of roles she is getting. I thought she was the best in Crazy Rich Asians, to then move from that to this is showing that she is getting some amazing roles. Shuzhen Zhao in her first ever acting role was inspiring as Nai Nai.

The film really does make you wonder and think about cancer or any other terminal illness and if the person does not know about it will they believe they are ok? It seems to be confirmed by this film and story, as if you hear that surely you give up hope straight away. So it really was rather impressive in that sense and that was something I wasn’t fully expecting to get from the film, extremely deep and meaningful from start to finish. Making you really think about your grandparents and the time you get to spend with him as well.

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