Review: The Farewell (2019 LVFF)

Title: The Farewell
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Lulu Wang
Starring: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin
Runtime: 1 hr 38 mins

What It Is: When news that her grandmother (nicknamed Nai Nai) has cancer Billi (Awkwafina) thinks that her Nai Nai needs to know this. Her family, however, does not agree. Their philosophy is that the knowing and fear of cancer kills you…not cancer itself. Now as the family prepares a fake wedding it’s only intent is to visit Nai Nai before cancer takes her over. This lie is not something Billi’s family believes she can keep up. That remains to be seen.

What We Think: Let me start off by saying that Awkwafina is incredible here. I wouldn’t (read won’t) be surprised if she is nominated for some gold come awards season. She’s never impressed me…until now. I was upset I never got to see this one at Sundance but the Las Vegas Film Festival once again has done us a solid and as you can see we got to see it. This is a tale that really shows the importance of family and the odd and often unique circumstances we’ll put ourselves through in order to protect them. Or at the very least seem as though we’re protecting them.

Our Grade: A, What a great film. Not only is it emotionally captivating it’s well told. Lulu Wang is brilliant in her eye. There are some shots here that come off perfectly. One decision late in the film particularly shines. Wang also wrote the screenplay…another fantastic part of the film itself. I cannot recommend this film more highly. This will be the film that shows that Awkwafina is legit. It’ll prove that Lulu Wang is a director that’ll be the pulse of the future. See this film when it releases in June. It’s yet another real winner for A24.

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