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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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.
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.