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The Farewell (2019)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 9 August 2019 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Lulu Wang

Writer:

Lulu Wang
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Popularity
173 ( 63)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 32 wins & 152 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Based on an Actual Lie

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

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 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$355,662, 14 July 2019

Gross USA:

$17,695,781

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,110,994
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In addition to writing and directing, Lulu Wang also plays piano on the film's soundtrack. See more »

Quotes

Jian: Chinese people have saying, when people get cancer they die. It's not cancer that kills them, it's the fear.
See more »

Connections

References Capricorn One (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Caro mio ben
Written by Giuseppe Giordani
Performed by soprano Hyesang Park (as Hera Hyesang Park) & pianist Lulu Wang
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A tragically beautiful story that makes you homesick
10 September 2019 | by eelen-sethSee all my reviews

Lulu Wang's story of an independent Chinese-American woman returning to China when her beloved grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, is nothing less but captivating. From the very first shot inside a hospital, the director invites you to tag along with this Chinese family, while they struggle to keep the truth from grandma and decide to stage a wedding, just to see her one last time.

Billi (Awkwafina), a twenty-something millennial, lives her life like most New Yorkers do - barely able to pay rent and on the lookout for a new job, she still goes home to mom and dad to do her laundry, knowing well enough she'll have to endure the parental comments while under the same roof. When her mother (Diana Lin) announces the imminent wedding of Billi's cousin, she realises something isn't right. Pressured by Billi's suspicion, her parents quickly confess to the terminal state her grandma Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) is in. Shocked by the news, it doesn't take long before they all end up around the dinner table at Nai Nai back in China, faking their true feelings around the clock.

Wang knows how to direct this tragically heartfelt story in a way not only Chinese families can relate. I, for one, could definitely look back at how my family used to keep secrets from certain relatives, just to "protect" them. Billi's family has problems of their own, with underlying tensions waiting to rise to the surface, and no one is holding back.

Anna Franquesa Solano's cinematography is a beauty. Most of the time, it's as if you're walking through an art gallery - strolling past one lifelike portrait after another. Truly exquisite is the way she captures the feelings of each individual. The vulnerability and sadness in their eyes, conflict with the constant "joie-de-vivre" the old Nai Nai still has going for her.

Everyone knows how good Awkwafina is at comedy, but who knew she'd be able to peel off every layer of that mask, to get to the core of her vulnerable emotions? She and Shuzhen are two peas in a pod, when it comes to giving groundbreaking performances. Shuzhen touches you in a way you can't imagine. An old lady with a big heart and a big mouth, keeping traditions alive while holding her own family together. The gloominess of her diagnosis lingers like a storm, which transcends into a mostly ominous score by Alex Weston.

With The Farewell, A24 can add another classic to their collection, which will go down in the history books as a turning point for Awkwafina and Lulu Wang's careers. A tragically beautiful story that makes you homesick and wants you to hold on to what we sometimes take for granted. Coming home has never felt more therapeutic.


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