Friday, August 16, 2019
Movie Review Madness: The Farewell
Billi (the excellent Awkafina in a dramatic role) lives in NYC but talks to her grandmother in China all the time. Visiting her folks in the city, she finds out they are leaving for China for a wedding. Who's wedding? What? Why? Turns out, the wedding is an excuse to see the grandmother who's dying of lung cancer. But no one will tell her. It's a secret.
Billi's financially struggling, doesn't get the grant she's hoped for, but hops on a plane and surprises everyone in China. The grandmother is delighted. The parents, et al make Billi swear she won't break the news. She has to act happy - go with the flow. This is against the Americanized part of her - it's lying, just not right. But in China, it's part of many family's culture - no need to dwell on the bad. Enjoy any final time with family and be happy.
The movie explores the family dynamics as they go through the wedding. The grandmother is so happy and you watch tender moments and struggling moments among the various family members and Billi. The Farewell is quite good and makes you think.
P.S.. it does have subtitles. Warning if that annoys you. Hence, Ray did not join me in my artsy movie mood.