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The Farewell The Return of a Matured Family Film is Here! Grade: B+

Source: Twitter @TheFarewell

The Farewell is based on a true story, which turns to based on a lie. Billi (Awkwafina) has been struggling in America, since her family decided to move for better opportunities and college for Billi. Well life for Billi is going to get much tougher, knowing her grandmother Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao) has only three months to live, due to being diagnosed with lung cancer. The thing is Nai Nai has no idea she has lung cancer, as her family refuses to tell her, due to Chinese tradition. So Billi's family organizes a fake wedding, so the entire family can be together before Nai Nai passes away. What a great storyline I must say, what makes it even more special is it's actually true. The Cinematography looked really damn good. Majority of the film is taken place in China, as one whom loves foreign films set in Asia, I always find myself admiring the beauty/struggle of this place. Got some unique set pieces and colors. I will say one shot of Billi's parents house, looks like a shot in a Ari Aster horror film... Not a complaint, I just noticed the resemblance. The Score was lovely, I like the one soundtrack selection in the finale, thought it was emotionally wonderful. The cast of this film is great all around, I have no complaints everyone was on their A-Game. Last year one may say I've given Awkwafina a tough time, as I didn't like any role she was in. I feel she's not funny to me, so those performances come off as either annoying or weak. When I saw Awkwafina in a Sundance film, I thought positive things, as I'm happy she going into a different route instead of being a weak comedic relief. I gotta tell ya: I hope Awkwafina takes on more roles like this one, not only did she proved me wrong, but she impressed me, she's great as Billi. The way she carries herself as Billi, just compliments how Billi should be portrayed as written. She feels completely shattered inside, not only things in America are not working out accordingly to plan, but now she's going to lose the one family member, that's given her a lot of precious memories?! She also hasn't seen Nai Nai in a long time, so I can tell she feels extremely regretful towards her move as well. She does delivered in a few comedic moments, genuinely good comedic moments, not none of that horse shit she's been doing all last year thank God. I hope with this role, Awkwafina decides to change her direction in acting, taking on more serious roles, she does have a promising talent if she chooses wisely... Great job! Shuzhen Zhao was adorable in this film, kind of reminds of every good grandmother including mine. Just a pure spirit, whom has a fun sense of humor, lovely lady indeed. When it came to feeling completely empty inside, I feel every cast member did that correctly. I did believe that they all had family connections with Nai Nai, as every performance really blended perfectly. I do have a few flaws. One being a lady and her family crying at the cemetery, I thought it was going to be Billi's mother's having a flashback, of how she wasn't sad when her grandmother passed, I would've preferred that over a random family. I get that in Chinese culture, they love karaoke and it's in a form of celebrating special occasions as well. I liked the first karaoke scene, thought it was funny... The other two I didn't care for at all. I wanted the second one to get off the stage cause it was painful to hear and watch, the third one was fake. I feel some of the film repeats itself, when it came to accepting that it's better to keep quiet than tell Nai Nai the truth. Oh and that massage scene... They've could've done so much more regarding presentation, instead it was under utilized. The Farewell perhaps is one of my fav 3 and a half star rated A24 films, close to Ex Machina, I really enjoyed this film. This film had a lot to say, whether it be the conversations said during the dinner table or regarding this topic. Majority of the conversations at the dinner table was refreshing to hear, makes the audience think as they come to debate. The way this culture handles not telling one they're going to die in a short amount of time, may sound wrong to some as I understand... But can't help to think that the Chinese way, makes a lot of sense. As far as if one knows they have cancer or a disease, chances of them recovering are very slim if they know they have it. You then add on stress as well as they worry about making a miraculous recovery. Sure it may not work out all the time, but heck so does knowing about it while getting treatments too, not all make a recovery while knowing and getting treated on either. Whether you agree or disagree, you understand both sides, I feel a little conflicted towards discussion but I'll say the Chinese way feels more effective and even cost less effective too. Spending so much money on medical bills, knowing there's a slight chance of recovering, so all that time, effort, and money could be all for nothing, I get it. I feel I can relate to this film, while back in November of last year. I decided I wasn't going to visit my grandmother again after the first time I visited her at the hospital, whom was extremely sick at the time. I thought I said my final goodbyes and let it be, as I didn't want to come back, as I left it up to God to decide where her faith would be moving forward. It's a weird way to think, but heck a week later... She made a miraculous recovery, as she came home in good health... Ya just never know. Though this film is a family drama, it does have comedy as I gotta tell ya it was funny at times, just nice family related pun jokes and it's cute. Well written characters, majority of them are likable and relatable too. The last ten minutes were emotional, whether it be the scene where Billi and Nai Nai talk, their final goodbye, the music playing, the visually grey and sorrow looking picture... I mean man, where are the tissues at?!This is the first PG rated A24 film, I wish more smart mature family films were made more like this one. Overall, The Farewell is a pretty damn good film. I highly recommend checking this one out, bring the family as well. Way to go Lulu Wang, this one really touched me, hoping for another one of your creations in the future. -Mitch Smietana

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