Posts Tagged ‘Lulu Wang’

Shuzhed Zhao, Awkwafina

“THE FAREWELL”  My rating: B

98 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

Through set largely in a foreign country with its own language and cultural peculiarities, “The Farewell” hits universal themes of kinship and mortality with unerring accuracy and delicate grace.

Lulu Wang’s film, inspired by her own family, centers on two women — the Chinese American Billie (Akwafina), who lives in New York City and is struggling to establish a career as a writer,  and her beloved grandmother, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao), back in China.

Billie’s parents — Haiyan (Tzi Ma) and Jian (Diana Lin) — brought her to America when she was a young girl.  As a result Billie is way more American than Chinese, although she retains enough conversational Mandarin to get by.

More than two decades in the U.S. have profoundly affected Haiyan and Jian as well.  He feels guilty about not having revisited his homeland in years; she is happy to have escaped the subservient lot of a typical Chinese daughter-in-law.

Then comes the news that Haiyan’s mother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. The doctors give her only three months.

But this fact is kept from the old lady; it is the custom of many Chinese families to keep such bad news from the patient until the last moment.  The rationale is that it allows the condemned to enjoy life for as long as possible.

Everyone in the family wants to visit Nai Nai to pay their respects, but how to do it without spilling the beans about her precarious health?


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