I went to go see The Farewell this weekend. There’s a lot of excitement around the movie and everyone in my circle from work, to friends, to social media has been hyping up this movie, so I was really looking forward to it.
Without giving too much away, the plot of the movie is that Bili’s grandma is sick, and it’s common in Chinese culture to keep the illness a secret from the person who’s sick, as to not cause them concern. Bili, played by Awkwafina, grew up in America and struggles with this custom since she thinks it’s wrong.
The movie does a great job having the characters discuss the differences between the two cultures (Chinese and American) because neither sides ever state that one’s better than the other. It’s all about perspective and each side has its pros and cons.
There’s a really short scene that stood out to me. It’s where Bili’s dad is asking Bili about work-related stuff. Unbeknownst to him, Bili is struggling in that regard and while her dad is just trying to have a nice conversation, it irritates Bili, so she responds in a curt manner. She eventually ends the conversation very quickly.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had a similar conversation with my parents, not just about work but about any aspect of my life that I might be having an issue with the time. And it’s not because I don’t want to have a nice conversation with them, because I do. I wasn’t really sure why I was always “triggered” when my parents brought these topics up until I came across this article.
In the article, the author mentions how her mom didn’t want to tell her family about the diagnosis not because her mom was worried about being a burden, but because if she mentioned it, it would be “real” and she would start having to worry about it.
And honestly, that sums up how I feel every time I try to keep something away from my family. I don’t want to worry them, but mostly, I don’t want to confront it and worry about it myself. Which I guess, is something I need to work on.
But back to the movie!
It was a great movie and I really enjoyed it. The movie kind of feels like real life in the way. It’s not a perfect story that moves along quickly from scene to scene. There are scenes that are quiet, still, slow, messy, awkward, and cringy. The movie also uses various camera perspectives so viewers can see what Bili is seeing. I wish there was a bit more character development or background, but I’m thinking the movie decided to just focus on the family as a whole instead of developing each individual character.
Definitely worth a watch if it’s showing in a theater near you.