Just getting back from vacay in NYC. And of course, because this was my vacay, I got in a few movies wherever I could. Biggest priority was The Farewell. As soon as I was able to check into my AirBNB and drop off my shit (after having spent the day in midtown, with Bryant Park as my home base) I took the subway straight down to the nearest movie theater.
Awkwafina plays a young Chinese immigrant living in NYC. She talks daily with her Nai Nai (Grandma) back in China, one of her few links to her home country. She finds out that Nai Nai has been diagnosed with stage four cancer, but the family doesn’t want to tell Nai Nai and bring down her mood during her last days, as is typically the norm in their culture. In order to have an excuse to bring the family together to say their stealthy goodbyes, they stage a big wedding for a cousin and his relatively new girlfriend back home in China.
I loved every second of this movie. It struck such a great balance between the comedy and drama, in a way that mirrors real life. The film was so absolutely sweet and heartfelt and real. At one point, I realized a parallel between the events in the movie and events in my own life and saying goodbye to my Daddy that I just started bawling so hard, only to soon find myself laughing again at the next events.
Part of why I was excited for this film was Awkwafina. Generally speaking, I love seeing actors who are known for comedy taking on something serious, and I have loved her in everything I’ve seen her do. I knew she certainly had the presence to anchor a film, and I was keen to see her take on something weighty. She absolutely nailed it. All those different emotions I’ve been mentioning I felt watching the film, I felt thru her eyes.
Not only was this film enjoyable, but I think it’s incredibly important. It’s an argument for why we need diversity in film. It’s a story unlike anything I’ve seen, deeply rooted in a culture I know little about, yet more relatable than the majority of what I’ve seen this year. I want to see more movies like this one.
The Farewell – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/