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The Farewell (PG)
Cast. Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Jim Liu.
Main Language: English, Chinese
This film announces at the outset that it’s “based on an actual lie.” The lie is actual because the filmmaker once told it in her own life and the lie serves as the pretext for what becomes a funny, emotionally intricate and deeply moving tale of severed connections and renewed family ties. In New York, a young Chinese-American woman, Billi, learns from her parents that her beloved grandmother in China has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. In what’s described as the traditional Chinese way, the family decides to keep the truth from its matriarch, and speeds up plans for a wedding that will bring everyone back home under the guise of a celebration that is really a farewell. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations she finds there’s a lot to celebrate: a chance to rediscover the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding even when so much goes unspoken.