A24 has released some of the best movies of the 2010s, including Moonlight, The Florida Project, A Ghost Story, First Reformed, Hereditary, Ex Machina, the list goes on and on. But none of those films, or Spring Breakers, or A Most Violent Year, or American Honey (like I said, on and on), are exactly family friendly. Imagine trying to explain The Vvitch to grandma. If you’re looking for an A24 that everyone can enjoy, say hello to The Farewell, a family comedy-drama that earned some of the best reviews from the Sundance Film Festival.
Directed and written by Lulu Wang who based the story on an “actual lie” in her life, The Farewell stars Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) as Billi, a Chinese-American woman who travels to China, where she learns her grandmother has cancer. But “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,” according to the official plot summary. “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 spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken.”
The Farewell is dealing with some weighty material, but Wang injected the film with as much as humor as possible to offset the heaviness. “For me, what was so important was more the absurdity of the situation,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “A lot of the silent awkwardness, and the juxtaposition of the interior of the character versus this external performance that she had to put on.”
The Farewell, which also stars Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Chen Han, and Zhao Shuzhen, opens on July 12.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)