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The Farewell (2019)

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Written and directed by Lulu Wang. The film stars Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong, and Jiang Yongbo.

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I saw this a few weeks ago and kept forgetting to make a thread.

It’s so good!

BTW, the reason the real life Nai Nai looks so much like her sister in the movie is because her real life sister plays herself in the movie. And I guess the two look very similar.

There’s a cathartic moment in the movie that Lulu Wang says didn’t actually happen in real life and it got me thinking about the parallel situation in Barry season 2. For me, the moment pretty much worked, but I also understand the critics who said it felt forced/untrue.

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While I'll let others discern the main storyline, I thought this movie was quite amazing in that it showed many different layers to Billi and Nai Nai,etc.

Spoiler

For instance, despite the fact that the two had not seen each other in many years and only communicated by phone, they seemed to have a warmer  bond  ( with her affectionately calling Billi 'stupid child'[!])than Billi did with her parents in NYC and, for that matter, than Nai Nai did with either of her sons( including Billi's father). Also, I thought it was an amazing touch to have it revealed that Nai Nai and her late husband had been part of the Revolutionary Guard ( complete with a striking duo youthful photo of  them in their uniforms), evidently during the height of the Cultural Revolution when traditions, rites and even family ties themselves were openly reviled and everyone was expected to conform to  be the state ideal of a blah,  colorless clone (with marital mates sent pillar to post at the party's behest and their children raised by others in communal nurseries)  Yet, Nai Nai  had emerged from this time a colorful, assertive, traditional yet supportive matriarch tended by a housekeeper and living with a boyfriend. She was even supportive  of those family members who had moved to Japan, (China's age old foe) and the USA ( considered the sworn enemy by Mao) ! If nothing else, I think it showed the triumph of the human will to re-embrace the positive traditions that had been so meticulously and deliberately fought against in  one's youth (somewhat like the Renaissance following the Dark Ages)!  And yet, this idea of sacrificing for the greater good had itself ancient origins- as Nai Nai's sister (whom Billi's mother liked for herself despite having issues with Nai Nai herself) had been willing to put her own marriage on hold for untold number of years (and seemed to have affection for her husband) just to be able to tend to Nai Nai.  It was interesting that when Billi confessed that her future wasn't as settled as she wanted her parents,etc. to believe that Nai Nai was still quite proud of her (despite the fact that there never was any indication that Billi would ever be interested in getting married or even being with anyone). Interesting touch, too, to have Billi declare to no longer play the piano yet express herself in doing just that far more than her words had done. It would have been interesting to have found out more about Aiko (Billi's hapless cousin's Japanese bride) as to how they met and WHY she was willing to go through to this marriage in a foreign country despite the very pronounced lack of sparks between her and the cousin (and it seemed that no member of HER family came over). 

  In any case, not only did Awkafina shine in this movie ( conveying drama quite well despite her having been a comedian but comedy is tragedy with better timing).  but the movie itself was quite well done giving good insights not just to another country but to human interactions of  traditional and contemporary worlds that cross all boundaries! 

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I saw this yesterday, and, as the best movies do, led me to think about it.  Many meaningful moments as well.

What’s the cathartic moment, or where can I find where Ms. Wang discussed it?

Any thoughts about the symbolism of the bird, and especially how it got into her hotel room?

I wasn’t sure I wanted to see this, but I am so glad I did!

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On ‎9‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 9:44 PM, zoey1996 said:

Any thoughts about the symbolism of the bird, and especially how it got into her hotel room?

In Slavic folklore certain birds, insects, and animals are thought to be used by ancestors' souls to visit upon their living families. I guess my mind just went there and didn't question it any further lol

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On 9/4/2019 at 7:44 PM, zoey1996 said:

What’s the cathartic moment, or where can I find where Ms. Wang discussed it?

Sorry I didn’t see this till now! I can’t quite remember the details anymore but I think it was in how Billi exploded at her mom. And I can’t for the life of me find it now, but I vaguely remember reading that Wang said in real life it was a lot more muted and choked back than the fictional version.

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Finally saw this a few days ago and really enjoyed it! Awkafina was really good, she just gets better and better in every movie I see her in. I liked the scene in the car as Billi and her parents are on their way to the airport and you see Billi's mom fighting tears. I loved the scene where her mom told her why she wasn't showing how upset she was but you could see in the car that she did feel the emotion.

I was so relieved to see that Nai Nai is still with us so many years after her diagnosis.

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I saw this on Prime last weekend and loved it! It reminded me of my own, complicated relationship with my grandma and that's why it hit home. 

That scene towards the end where Nai Nai was bidding farewell to Awkwafina as the taxi is driving away and then she eventually tears up wrecked me, just thinking that it may be the last time they would see each other.

1 hour ago, jah1986 said:

I was so relieved to see that Nai Nai is still with us so many years after her diagnosis.

Me too! That made me feel a little bit better because I was really down towards the end. 

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I watched this last night and I enjoyed it, but is it a comedy? I think not. There were definitely light moments, but this was no laugh fest.

It has many layers of deep emotion and tension around the family relationships and communication between family members that are developed well throughout the movie. Everyone seemed to have their own secrets and regrets, but they stemmed from a place of duty and love for family, or not wanting to disappoint others. I suspected that Nai Nai actually knew that she was much more seriously ill than her family members were telling her, but she was resilient and determined to survive. 

I was especially impressed with the actress who played Billi's mother.

I wished that Billi had either stayed in or gone back to China to live, at least for a while.

And the FOOD! My god, the food looked glorious.

Edited by Ashforth
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I just saw this movie a couple of weeks ago, and loved it!  I hadn't heard anything about it, but I like Awkwafina, so was happy to see she was in it, and thought she did a fantastic job in this role.

I love movies about family, heritage, different cultures and customs, so this was right up my alley.   As an immigrant, though not Asian, the family dynamics hit home, which is one of the reasons I love movies about different cultures.  Somehow, I can all see myself in them regardless of how different our histories are.

By coincidence, I had recently seen an episode of "Station 19" where a son wouldn't tell his father that he had a disease and was dying.  This movie explored that in more depth, and helped me understand what's behind the thinking.

The wedding was equal parts sad and hilarious.  "Do all the guests know?  Are they all in on it?"

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