301 user 243 critic

The Farewell (2019)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 9 August 2019 (USA)
2:17 | Trailer
A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.


Lulu Wang


Lulu Wang
2,043 ( 51)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 31 wins & 151 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Shuzhen Zhao ... Nai Nai
Awkwafina ... Billi
X Mayo ... Suze
Hong Lu Hong Lu ... Little Nai Nai (as Lu Hong)
Hong Lin Hong Lin ... Doctor Wu (as Lin Hong)
Tzi Ma ... Haiyan
Diana Lin ... Lu Jian
Yang Xuejian Yang Xuejian ... Mr. Li
Becca Khalil ... Shirley
Yongbo Jiang Yongbo Jiang ... Uncle Haibin (as Jiang Yongbo)
Han Chen Han Chen ... Hao Hao (as Chen Han)
Aoi Mizuhara ... Aiko
Xiang Li ... Aunty Ling (as Li Xiang)
Hongli Liu Hongli Liu ... Aunty Gao (as Liu Hongli)
Shimin Zhang Shimin Zhang ... Michael (as Zhang Shiming)


A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Billi struggles with her family's decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cemetery | doctor | grief | lie | secret | See All (297) »


Based on an Actual Lie


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material, brief language and some smoking. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The joke about the cat dying and "mom is on the roof" told around the dinner table is the same joke told by astronaut Peter Willis to himself as he is climbing up a desert cliff in the 1977 movie Capricorn One (1977). Seconds later, he is ambushed and killed by government helicopters. See more »


Billi: You know, one of the few good memories of my childhood were those summers at Nai Nais's. They had that garden, Ye Ye and I would catch dragonflies. And then we just moved to the States. Everything was different. Everyone was gone. And it was just the three of us.
Jian: I know it was hard. It was hard for us too.
Billi: I wanted to believe that it was a good thing, but all I saw was fear in your eyes. And I was confused and scared constantly because you never told me what was going on. And then Ye Ye died. You...
See more »


References Capricorn One (1977) See more »


Come Healing
Written by Leonard Cohen & Patrick Leonard
Performed by Elayna Boynton
Produced by Alex Weston
See more »

User Reviews

Subtly anguished portrait of a family coping with tragedy
18 August 2019 | by PotassiumManSee all my reviews

Awkwafina stars as a young Asian-American professional woman in this down-to-earth, insightful film about a Chinese family that confronts the discovery of an aging grandmother being diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. The family is determined to not tell the grandmother about her condition so as to allow her the best state of mind as she lives out the remainder of her life.

Tremendous performances make this film, which would not be the same achievement without the acting that makes these characters utterly real, without judging them or resorting to weepy melodrama. In addition, there is the theme of a clash of views between Asian-Americans who have learned western values and the long-standing traditional values of Chinese families. There is also a contrast in backdrops, with Awkwafina's protagonist's laid-back lifestyle at home in New York compared to the sterile, concrete character of China.

Although the film has a comedic element with Awkwafina at the helm, this is more a slow-burn film about the psychological toll of impending family loss. It is never overdone and there are no cheap tears here. This film, in the end, earns its emotional impact. I don't cry watching a film, but I came close here. For patient viewers, this will is a must-see. Gladly recommended.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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USA | China


Mandarin | English | Japanese | Italian

Release Date:

9 August 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Farewell See more »

Filming Locations:

Changchun, China See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$355,662, 14 July 2019

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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