The Farewell

1hr 38mins
Directed by
Lulu Wang
Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin

Based on an actual lie.

In this funny, uplifting tale, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai (grandma), has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken.

With The Farewell, writer/director Lulu Wang has created a heartfelt celebration of both the way we perform family and the way we live it, masterfully interweaving a gently humorous depiction of the good lie in action with a richly moving story of how family can unite and strengthen us, often in spite of ourselves.

Review Text

A highly engaging charmer of a movie that never puts a foot wrong.

Review Author
David Rooney
Review Publication
The Hollywood Reporter
Review Text

A gentle exploration of cultural differences and generational schisms.

Review Author
A.O. Scott
Review Publication
New York Times
Review Text

Deeply moving and unexpectedly playful in equal measure.

Review Author
Christy Lemire
Review Publication