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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
2,297 ( 110)
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 32 wins & 167 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 family dog's name is Ellen. In Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Awkwafina's character is called Asian Ellen. See more »


1:22:14 As Billi runs down the street, the crew van with it's door open is reflected in the last billboard. See more »


Jian: I know it was hard. It was hard for us too.
See more »


Featured in 2020 Golden Globe Awards (2020) See more »


Senza Di Te (Without You)
Written by Tom Evans (as Thomas Evans) & Pete Ham (as Peter Ham)
Performed by Fredo Viola
See more »

User Reviews

Spend as much time with your loved ones as you can while you can
5 September 2019 | by klusebaSee all my reviews

The Farewell is a bittersweet Chinese tragicomedy that has the potential to become an Academy Award winner for Best International Feature Film. The movie revolves around an elderly Chinese lady who suffers from an incurable cancer. Her sister however hides this information from her and instead tries to bring all the family together for one last time. A hastily arranged wedding between a grandson and his Japanese girlfriend serves as purpose for the family members abroad to come back to Changchun. However, the burden of this lie is heavy and conflicts, confusion and misunderstandings soon occur.

The most interesting question about this movie is how you would deal with a situation such as the one portrayed in this film if someone close to you were concerned and how you would like to be treated if you were in a similar situation yourself. The family members in this film try to carry the burden together and decide to not tell the aged grandmother that she is dying. There is no right way to deal with such a difficult decision. If you hide the truth, you might prevent the other person to live every day as if it were the last day and to say farewell. If you tell the truth, you will cause an immense emotional burden to the concerned person who will live in fear of dying every single day. The Farewell offers much food for thought and also shows how differently Western and Eastern cultures approach such a scenario.

The acting performances in this film are outstanding. Every character has its own identity from the drunk war veteran who was in love with the elderly lady over the chubby grandchild who is addicted to technology to the deaf housemate who is the only one to mind his own business. Lead actress Nora Lum convinces as concerned granddaughter who disagrees with her family's strategy of hiding the truth from her grandmother and who also has some financial and social problems of her own. Shuzhen Zhao steals the show in her very first movie as headstrong elderly lady with a heart of gold.

The movie portrays the differences between Western and Eastern cultures cleverly and also portrays how the Chinese society is changing. People have become greedy capitalists looking for financial opportunities abroad but also try to embrace their ethnic heritage at the same time. Changchun has developed from a rather small city with less than a million citizens to a gigantic city with close to eight million citizens in only fifty years. The movie shows how gigantic buildings and monuments have replaced small houses and gardens.

The Farewell also has alight-hearted side and manages to cheer its audience up despite numerous heartbreaking moments. The subtle humour works very well and includes drunk war veterans declaring their romantic feelings, hilarious karaoke performances during the wedding and several running jokes in form of the careless deaf housemate and the disconnected overweight grandson.

In the end, The Farewell is an emotional tragicomedy with a profound message: to spend as much time with your loved ones as you can while you can. As someone who is living abroad and far away from his family, I can truly empathize with the movie's meaningful message. Give this movie the chance to inspire your brain and warm your heart.

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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
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