Awkwafina's THE FAREWELL Tells a Crazy and True Story - Sundance Review


The Farewell tells the crazy and true story of a Chinese family whose grandmother is dying of lung cancer and only has three months to live, but the family decides not to tell her. This could never happen in the United States, but in China, it’s totally legal. The family quickly organizes a wedding for a cousin and his girlfriend of only three months as an excuse to bring the family together one last time. The main character, Billi (played by Awkwafina), struggles not to tell her grandma because of their close bond.

This was a very touching movie. Awkwafina does a great job, but I don't really feel like this role gave her much room to shine comedically. There's a few quips, but I had hoped for more since this is the first time we've seen her in a starring role and I really wanted her to run with it.

This movie is also a bit heavier than I expected. I listened to this story a couple years ago on NPR and loved how it dealt with family and mortality. But in this movie version, it often felt as though sadness was being used to fill the time of a feature-length film.

That said, all the characters are great. The grandma is adorable, and there’s plenty of awkward humor watching the family navigate planning a big event without revealing the true reason behind their motives. This movie will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

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