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Film Review: “The Farewell” (2019) ★★★★


Jian Yongbo, Kmamura Aio, Chen Han, Tzi Ma, Awkwafina, Li Ziang, Tzi Ma, Lu Hong and Zhao Shuzhen appear in a still from The Farewellby Lulu Wang, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtsey of Sundance Institute | photo by Big Beach All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or ‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’ Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

What would we do if we learn that we have only a few months to live? Would we be super angry about it or calm? There’s no easy answer to it because none of us would like to find ourselves in such a heartbreaking situation. This is why watching “The Farewell” was like a lifetime journey in which we get a chance to understand the nuances of why sometimes a person with terminal illness should know nothing about the impending death that is about embrace its target.

“The Farewell” is a heart-warming film that tells the story of Nai Nai, aka, grandma (Tzi Ma) whose family decides to hide from her the terrible news that she has stage four lung cancer and has only three months left to live. The family instead of being open about it, come up with the plan to arrange a wedding which everyone can attend, in reality just to spend time with her before saying their final goodbye. Billi (Awkwafina), who now lives in New York with her family, loves her grandma so dearly and despite her financial difficulties and the objections of her parents, travels to China to spend more time with her Nai Nai.

“The Farewell” has an outstanding way of celebrating life and those who we dearly care about. It was explained that, according to a Chinese saying, it is not the cancer that kills, it’s fear. This is why the family makes a difficult decision to be quiet about it. Despite Nai Nai’s terminal illness, she is too excited about her grandson Hao Hao’s wedding and begins arranging the wedding with such inspiring energy that will make anyone envious.

“The Farewell”, written and directed by Lulu Wang, tells a true story that people truly deserve to know about. As we watch the entire family gathering, Nai Nai’s exercises outside of her big home, the love she receives from her family and how thoughtful they are about each other, it will bring tears to your eyes. Subtle performances delivered by the entire cast, beautiful soundtrack, flawless direction, perfectly written screenplay, does the magic and will succeed to earn a special place in your heart. Because at the end of the day, while we know not much about the death, we know how beautiful life is. And to live that to the fullest, we do not need to be diagnosed with terminal illness, and just enjoy every day with loved ones as if it was the only day we had.

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