The Farewell. 2019. USA. Directed and written by Lulu Wang. With Awkwafina, Shuzhen Zhao, Diana Lin. 100 min.
Based on true events that unfolded after director Lulu Wang’s grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, her second feature film is a rare convergence of intimate storytelling, accomplished filmmaking, and undeniable sincerity. Upon learning of Nai Nai’s near-fatal diagnosis, following with Chinese tradition, the family decides it is best to keep the news from her. Having spent most of her life in the United States, Billi (a piercing performance by Awkwafina) is frustrated by this choice to withhold information, and her anxiety builds as her family returns to China for a “fake” wedding to gather the family once more before Nai Nai’s death. Equally humorous and heartfelt, The Farewell is a testament to the strength of family across generations, nations, and ideologies. Courtesy A24.