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.
I don''t like, you know, put all my emotion on display. Like I''m in the zoo. But in here, if you don''t cry, you don''t put a show, they think that you don''t love your family. You know, in here, they even hire some professional criers. Just to show how sad they are. It''s just so ridiculous. I hate that.
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Subtly anguished portrait of a family coping with tragedy
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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