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The Farewell

The Farewell

USA/China 2019 - with Shuzhen Zhao, Awkwafina, X Mayo, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:The Farewell
Genre:Drama, Comedy
Direction:Lulu Wang
Cinema release:19.12.2019
Production country:USA/China 2019
Running time:Ca. 100 min.
Rated:From 0 years
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For Billi (Awkwafina) life in New York doesn't run smoothly at the moment. But the worst news comes from China: Her beloved grandmother Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao) is suffering from cancer and probably has only a short time left to live. However, the family decided not to tell Nai Nai about the severity of her illness. So that the whole family, including the members living abroad in the meantime, can say goodbye, a wedding is organized for Billis cousin Hao Hao. Billi also travels with her parents to the turbulent family party, where everyone tries to keep up the lie. Billi finds it increasingly difficult to lie to her grandmother. But as she struggles with her conscience and against the expectations of her family, she learns during her time in China to see her past, her roots and also her family with completely new eyes…

The story of the critic's favorite "The Farewell" is actually based on a true lie. The family of scriptwriter and director Lulu Wang has indeed concealed from her grandmother the diagnosis that she had incurable cancer. The idea of organizing a wedding as a pretext for all family members to come together to say goodbye to the old lady is also anchored in reality. Although she also allowed herself some dramaturgical freedoms, the result is a very intimate and honest movie, which keeps the perfect balance between comedy and tragedy in a wonderful way. 

So it never gets too overly silly, but also not too maudlin or even kitschy. With a sensitive hand Wang draws a story about saying goodbye, but also about role assignment within the family and the sometimes existing necessity to break out of it. The whole thing is very subtly staged, so that you don't even notice how much the story gets to your heart. Almost at the very end there is a small shot, but then all the dams break. The fact that a simple wave is enough for tears to shoot into your eyes is evidence of the director's great craftsmanship. 

But tribute must also be paid to the great ensemble, especially Awkwafina, who has become better known for comic roles in movies like "Crazy Rich Asians", "Ocean`s 8" or "Jumanji 2". Here she shows a much wider range of her skills and convinces all along the line. It's really nice that Lulu Wang fought so hard to make her film, which wasn't Western enough for American financiers and too Western for Chinese financiers, a reality. Because otherwise the cinema would really be poorer by one quite wonderful film. That's what it's all about: Absolutely worth seeing!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "The Farewell (USA/China 2019)"
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