CREDIT: A24/YouTube

Starring: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong, Jiang Yongbo, Chen Han, Aoi Mizuhara

Director: Lulu Wang

Running Time: 98 Minutes

Rating: PG for General Family Reunion Awkwardness

Release Date: July 12, 2019 (Limited)

If my grandmother had cancer and my parents and aunts and uncles decided to hide the diagnosis from her and instead organize a wedding so that all her loved ones could visit her one last time, I imagine my reaction would be a lot like that of The Farewell‘s supremely frustrated Billi (Awkwafina). But of course, I cannot imagine that anyone in my family would actually do that, so it’s a little hard for me to even wrap my head around this scenario as a real thing. But it is a real thing, as writer/director Lulu Wang based it on her own experience. And I suspect she wanted to have quite an impact on people like me who are not part of a culture that would engage in this type of subterfuge. That impact valuably exploits the empathetic power of cinema: by the end of The Farewell, I still do not come anywhere close to agreeing with Billi’s family’s decision, but I understand why they believe it is the right thing. Wang’s film will have you laughing, crying, and hopefully thinking about what works best for your family in sickness and in health.

The Farewell is Recommended If You Like: Weddings and Family Reunions in All Their Messiness

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Little Round Butts