The Farewell is the story of Billi, whose parents moved to the United States from China when she was young. While she has remained in contact with the family, she is feeling disconnected to them.
When she discovers that her Grandmother has cancer and that her parents kept it from her and were not bringing her on a trip to visit her Nai Nai, she is heartbroken. It does look cold, but the truth is, nobody has informed her Grandmother of her illness and they feel that Billi could not hide this. But Billi decides to to make the trip anyways and surprise her family.
As her uncle explains, they are keeping her condition from Nai Nai to carry the burden for her. In a heartbreaking moment, he suggests that Billi wants to tell Nai Nai the truth because it will make things easier for Billi.
The film really captures the entire family struggle, as Billi is less alone than she realizes. Her father and mother, her uncle, her cousin…all are struggling with the reality and putting on the brave faces for Nai Nai.
But the Farewell is not all sadness. In fact, it is also sweet and funny. Lulu Wang is exploring grief, but also what it means to be a part of a family. Honestly, it is a beautiful film and worth watching.
Also, not nominating Awkwafina for an acting Oscar is a crime.