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486 Ratings

The Farewell

別告訴她 | Bié Gàosù Tā

Directed by Lulu Wang
United States, China, 2019
Comedy, Drama


A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Billi struggles with her family’s decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time.

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The Farewell Directed by Lulu Wang

Awards & Festivals

American Film Institute Awards

2020 | Winner: Movie of the Year

Golden Globes (USA)

2020 | 2 nominations including: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

2020 | Winner: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

One of The Farewell’s essential problems is that its affection for and attachment to Nai Nai is so clear that the rest of its narrative points and characters feel half-hearted in comparison.
August 02, 2019
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There is something hesitant about the way Wang turns this beguiling family story into a film, an unwillingness to push too hard into potentially painful emotional territory, which also keeps the comedy in check.
July 11, 2019
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Wang is unapologetic about the cultural specificity of her (true) story, yet it is this limited framework that ultimately makes The Farewell a vivid and endlessly relatable story of fractured identity in a globalized world.
July 11, 2019
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What are people saying?

  • chanandre's rating of the film The Farewell

    Losing your grandmother (especially if you just have the one grandma left) is one of the most brutal things in life. Here the loss looms thoughout the movie and that's what makes it so suffocating and harsh. Awkwafina and Shuzhen Zhao both float with such a moving grace with a sound no louder than a falling Autumn leaf. Everything is directed ever so suavely managing beautifully the melodrama balance.*Hugs Nai Nai*<3

  • Renton47's rating of the film The Farewell

    Incidentally heard the podcast recently and surprised given its innate humour that Wang chose to make the fiction more reserved. Attribute it to proximity then but I found this a touch staid, unwilling to expand in any surprising direction. The differences are interesting in theory and it's a thoughtful depiction of identity in limbo (lovingly composed too), sadly just never quite connected with it 2.5

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film The Farewell

    Placid, possibly to a fault. Once the setup is in place, it develops few wrinkles and not much urgency; the second act does little with its characters except go in circles that widen far too slowly. But by the end, it chalks up a number of lovely observations about family, aging, culture gaps, etc., that universalize its specifics and earn a payoff about how the proper way to face death is simply to continue living.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film The Farewell

    As someone who’s constantly torn between two countries, I found Wang’s observations on the clash of ideologies to be resonant. Emotionally, however, I had trouble connecting to the film’s core. I felt distant from the characters as the events unfolded. Once the lie is established, and we go past the immediate outrage of the family’s decision, The Farewell enters a status quo which is maintained until the end (cont'd)

  • Daniel Roque's rating of the film The Farewell

    I died when the real Nai Nai appeared. But not as much as when I heard that chinese Mariah Carey-oke cover at the end credits.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film The Farewell

    Regrettably, this is just the sort of brilliant-but-not-showy film the Academy often fails to recognize; Lulu Wang lets quiet tableaus breathe and trusts they'll hold our attention with slick ensemble staging and digetic framing (they do). In Awkwafina's introspective, implosive turn, she finds the perfect vessel for a drama about repressed emotion's hilarity and misery.

  • HenriqueA's rating of the film The Farewell

    3.5 - You wouldn't think that a story this simple would have a script that is not that coherent. For better or worse though, The Farewell tries to bite a bit more than it can chew. But please forget about the hype (or that this is sold as a comedy because it is not) and enjoy this handcrafted little gem with a worthy ensemble (especially Awkwafina, Diana Lin and Shuzhen Zhao) and an exquisite sense of composition.

  • ig_____or's rating of the film The Farewell

    A respectful and sweet family drama, that presents you with an interesting moral dilemma and the differences between Eastern and Western cultures. Great things lie ahead for director Lulu Wang and Awkwafina, I'm sure. Also... Nai Nai <3

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