In case you missed it, The Farewell is quickly becoming the must-see indie flick of the year and luckily for us, it’s hitting Kiwi screens this month. Boasting a fresh out the gate 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and starring rapper-turned-actress Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean’s 8), this film will tug on your heartstrings and make you laugh out loud.
In a deeply personal tale, director Lulu Wang takes us on a journey that parallels her own experience of being born in Beijing, moving to the United States at a young age and navigating these two cultures as an adult.
Wang’s character is represented by 31-year old New York author Billi (Awkwafina), who hears that her Chinese grandmother Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) has terminal cancer. Here's the deal though: her family agrees to keep the diagnosis a secret from Nai Nai so as to not upset her—a decision common in China. Instead, they gather in her home town Changchun under the pretense of a surprise wedding to celebrate her life and say goodbye.
At the heart of The Farewell is a touching story about family, something we can each relate to in our own way. Add in the complexities of cultures that seem worlds apart, strong beliefs, family expectations and an endless stream of distant relatives and you’ll quickly be drawn into the relatable and humorous world Wang has crafted for this story.
As Billi forms a deeper relationship with her Nai Nai over the course of the film she develops a heartfelt connection with her Chinese heritage. She'll also have to do a lot of soul searching as a result, and grapple with the hardest question—how do you say goodbye to someone you love without them knowing?
Without getting into spoiler territory, let’s just say this is a family film event not to be missed. Fire up the family group chat (yes, even the grandparents) and make a popcorn date to see The Farewell, which hits New Zealand cinemas from September 5.
Image Credit: The Farewell