The Farewell – 2019

  • Originality: This film tells the story of an American woman who travels back to China to spend time with her dying grandmother; the twist being that she doesn’t know she’s dying. Based on Lulu Wang’s real-life, this film draws its audience in based on the lack of relatability since lying about a terminal diagnosis is unheard of to western audiences. [5.0] 
  • Performances: Awkafina seems like the obvious compliment to give to this movie, seeing as how as her raw emotion threatens to bleed out in every scene. But it isn’t just Awkafina who gives a career-making performance, Zhao Shuzhen has had a long career in China, but here she gets her chance to shine for international audiences and she doesn’t disappoint. [4.5]
  • Technicality: Lulu Wang is a new name in cinema, having directed only shorts and one small indie film in her years in the industry, but it is safe to describe this film as her breakout. The direction and cinematography of this film are deserving of high praise, the scene with Billi and her uncle walking the streets of Changchun is particularly well shot. [5.0]
  • Rewatchability: This isn’t a particularly long film and it’s subject matter lends itself well to both comedy and tragedy, but it is Wang’s direction and Awkafina’s performance that draws the audience back in. This isn’t one that can be watched once a week, but it is certainly one that I’ll revisit several more times, including at least once more this year. [4.5]

Total – [19.0/20.0]

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