Last Sunday with both of the kids away for a week at their respective summer camps, we had some free time to ourselves. We wanted to watch The Farewell (2019), starring Awkwafina.
Oddly enough, the film isn’t playing anywhere near us! We could only find it playing at theaters in NYC. After we dropped off Lily to the Crossroads camp, we drove all the way east on I-78 to Newport in Jersey City, parked the car at the mall, took the PATH and then subway to the Lincoln Square to catch the showing. We didn’t have too much time for dinner, but we were able to grab a quick bite and drink at a Shalel Lounge on West 70th St.
In the film, Awkwafina portrays Billi, a Chinese-American writer who, along with the rest of her relatives, tries to shield her grandmother from the news of her terminal illness. The entire extended family travels to China under the pretense of a family wedding. In reality, they are all attempting to bring her whole family together before she passes.
I found this Awkwafina quote from a recent interview, and I thought it best summarized what the film was about:
“So much of what the film is about what the characters are going through, it’s all a way for them to manage their grief,” she said. “The thing that none of us can control is that we have to say goodbye and I think that’s the thing that people probably resonate the deepest with.”
I thought it was interesting to watch the family dynamics, dealing with loss of a parent and grandparent, and seeing what looked like a realistic view of China. And the characters! The actors and actresses did such a nice job portraying the characters as real people. Not cartoons.
And the character of Nai Nai was cool. I hope we can be beloved grandparents like her one day…. in the far, far future.