In this funny, uplifting tale based on an actual lie, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, 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 thereís a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmotherís 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.
San Francisco Chronicle/Mick LaSalle
The Farewell has a special feeling about it. Itís full of truth and emotion, and lacking in sentimentality. It has an eye for absurdity and for the telling detail, and it marks Lulu Wang as a director with the rare but essential ability to make you care about what she cares about. It will go down as one of the standout movies of 2019.
Washington Post/Ann Hornaday
When each of us contains multitudes, "The Farewell" suggests, home is everywhere, or anywhere we happen to be.
Seattle Times/Moira MacDonald
It's a film that pulls off a quiet miracle: it breaks your heart, and leaves you happy.
Chicago Sun-Times/Richard Roeper
Lots of heavy stuff, to be sure, and there are times when The Farewell delivers powerful emotional blows, and we ache for Billi and what she's going through - in large part because Awkwafina's performance is so raw and authentic and in the moment.
The New Republic/Zoe Hu
Immigrants, for whom such experiences often overlap in intimate ways, can tell some of the most compelling stories about the human condition and the dislocating shocks of modernity.
You'll be spewing with tears before the first act is done.