In our opinion, this film does what the medium was invented for: it gives appreciation for the living situation of the other. The true story of a Sino-American student who, due to her grandmother’s illness, suddenly has to travel the China of her childhood and has to navigate her way through family affairs is funny, moving and one of our favorite films this year.
Chinese-born American Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to her homeland to find that her grandmother has just weeks to live. Although her entire family knows the prognosis, they have decided not to tell their beloved matriarch. As everyone gathers under the guise of an expedited wedding, Billi must navigate a minefield of family expectations but also finds there’s a lot to celebrate: her 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. Writer-director Lulu Wang’s The Farewell is a heartfelt celebration of how family can unite and strengthen us — often in spite of ourselves.