Rent The Farewell (2019)

3.5 of 5 from 188 ratings
1h 36min
Rent The Farewell Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
  • General info
  • Available formats
Synopsis:
In this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie. Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai. has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad.
As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there's a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother's wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken. With 'The Farewell', writer/director Lulu Wang has created a heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it, masterfully interweaving a gently humorous depiction of the good lie in action with a richly moving story of how family can unite and strengthen us. often in spite of ourselves.
Actors:
, , X Mayo, Hong Lu, Hong Lin, , Diana Lin, Yang Xuejian, Becca Khalil, Yongbo Jiang, Han Chen, Aoi Mizuhara, , Hongli Liu, Shimin Zhang, Jing Zhang, Jinhang Liu, Xi Lin, Shi Lichen, Lin Wang
Directors:
Producers:
Anita Gou, Daniele Tate Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Lulu Wang, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng
Writers:
Lulu Wang
Others:
Daniele Melia
Studio:
Entertainment In Video
Genres:
Children & Family, Comedy, Drama, New Releases
BBFC:
Release Date:
13/01/2020
Run Time:
96 minutes
Languages:
English
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • Commentary with Writer-Director Lulu Wang and Cinematographer Anna Franquesa Solano
  • Trailer
BBFC:
Release Date:
13/01/2020
Run Time:
100 minutes
Languages:
English
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Commentary with Writer-Director Lulu Wang and Cinematographer Anna Franquesa Solano
  • Trailer

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Reviews (2) of The Farewell

Some good moments - The Farewell review by DT

Spoiler Alert
28/02/2020

Gently amusing, fairly predictable, not as tear-jerking as it intended to be. The characters held our interest, particularly the 'dying' traditional grandmother and the Americanised granddaughter, but also the uncle. A bit slapsticky at times. Enjoyable but not memorable.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

The Matriarch - The Farewell review by AA

Spoiler Alert
26/03/2020

Interesting film about the final days of the family matriarch who is terminally ill and how the family try to manipulate things to keep he happy in what they believe are her final days.  Add to the mix an organised wedding, the arrival of a son and wife who emigrated to the United States and their daughter who believes she should be told how ill she is and the ensuing machinations keep the film moving along.  I enjoyed it as it reminded of the time I spent living and working in Singapore. 

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

The Farewell review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

Throughout The Farewell, there’s a somberness not for the desire of a needle to drop but that the needle will never drop. There’s an uncomfortable and heartbreaking level of repression present within the film that shreds the soul when realizing that nothing all that truthful can come out from a family and culture that would rather main dignified than emotional. It’s too hard to bear and even those seasoned enough in shirking their true feelings are still chipped and unsure about how viable these choices are.

Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen), a grandmother in China, is dying of lung cancer but nobody will tell her the truth. Her more able-bodied sister receives the news from the doctor and lies to Nai Nai that her CT scan only revealed “benign shadows.” The rest of the family learns the truth and figure they only have one last chance to be with Nai Nai. Under the allusion of a staged wedding, the family spread across America and Japan venture home to spend some time with Nai Nai in a bittersweet reunion. The last to learn of this is the struggling Billi (Awkwafina), hard for cash and her career going nowhere. When learning this news, she knows she has to go, even though her emotionless parents are reluctant with how easily Awkwafina gets emotional over someone she has grown so attached to.

The whole family assembles and grandma is ecstatic to have them all come together. On this seemingly joyous occasion, nobody will tell Nai Nai the bad news and indulge her smiles and banter. Billi can’t stand this charade but decides to keep it up because everyone agrees that it’s best Nai Nai keep cheerful to the very end and not wallow in her mortality. They all put on a cheerful face and the long visit is one of joy laced with the bitter realization of the truth.

Throughout the film is an admittance of a cultural aspect that goes unchallenged. Billi is told by her mother that “Chinese people have a saying; when you get cancer, you die.” It’s a somewhat silly line but also carries an uncomfortable truth of knowing that death is coming and that it is not fought with admittance but repression. It’s damaging but this is perhaps how we view all mortality including our own. We don’t think about it until the very end and distract ourselves with other thoughts and sometimes lies. Because when we break and think about it, the joy evaporates and fear sets in for the hereafter.

We see a few members of the family crumble, especially at the wedding. None will reveal the truth but most will turn into a sobbing mess when addressing Nai Nai. They can’t help it; they can’t hold it back. In China, based on the conversations of the family, crying is not a dignified trait and families will sometimes hire professional criers for funerals to do all the emoting for them.

There’s a somber warmth to The Farewell that made the film quickly work its way into my heart, only to shred it by the final act. The most heartbreaking moment of the picture is not the death of Nai Nai, which never comes. It’s a relatable scene where the family says their quiet and somewhat passive goodbyes to Nai Nai as they pile into the car to head to the airport. Nai Nai bids farewell with her cough and the family is silent for the car ride back, all the sadness behind their eyes.

The Farewell is easily one of the best films of 2019 for its deeply moving human nature and a genuine appeal to our repression of emotion and fear of mortality.

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