The Farewell (Movie Review)

If someone you love is dying- would you tell them?
The Farewell explores this heavy question with a surprising amount of hilarity and is a funny yet emotional family movie that also showcases Asian culture and the ethical dilemma of deciding what is best for our loved ones.

Release poster - (Wikipedia)

In short, see the Farewell if:

  • you like laughing about weird family customs
  • you love a good movie about family and/or love your family
  • you are interested in/relate to Asian culture
The Farewell is truly an homage to the idiosyncrasies of Asian culture: from the overall theme of hiding secrets big and small and pretending everything is ok, to burning fake money for ancestors to have a prosperous afterlife. But it also explores the intermingling of many complicated family relationships: grandparent and grandchild, kids and parents, uncles, cousin, etc.

While everyone can relate to family love and drama, the setting here is China - and some themes arise of: the perspective that America is better than China, Eastern collectivism vs. Western Individualism, and honoring traditions and custom vs. development/building a better future. While China is foreign to so many people, I think this movie sheds light on the multiple perspectives and eases audiences into identity conflicts that Asian-Americans relate to and that some human struggles are more similar than they may seem.

The casting was good: Awkwafina is great, and the family cast members are able to make you feel sad but then share laughable moments minutes later. I identified with so many of the family moments, from the awkward conversations with relatives, to greeting everyone as aunt or uncle at a wedding, and the details are what make this movie so relatable.

Overall, the Farewell shares lots of insightful moments about lying, love, and family. While we may all make a different decision how to act around family when there is bad news, the good moments with family give us hope and keep us going.

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