Families often go above and beyond to take care of us. They are often the only ones who love us unconditionally. At least that is what ‘The Farewell’ tries to say. Helmed by Lulu Wang, the film follows a family that finds out that their grandmother is about to pass away. The family members decide not to tell her, and organizes a family gathering before she passes away.
After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, the movie was released theatrically and it has received praise for the screenplay and direction from Wang. It is unsurprising since Wang partly based it on her own life experiences. The performances in the film were praised as well. The Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus states: ”The Farewell deftly captures complicated family dynamics with a poignant, well-acted drama that marries cultural specificity with universally relatable themes.”
What is The Farewell About?
‘The Farewell’ tells the story of an aspiring Chinese-American author, Billi, who maintains a close relationship with her Nai Nai, that is, her paternal grandfather (The term used here is a Mandarin one). Nai Nai lives in Changchun, China. After Billi gets a rejection letter for the Guggenheim Fellowship, she discovers from her parents Haiyan and Jian that her grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and only has a few months to live.
The family keeps the test result from Nai Nai through deception and manipulation. They lead her to believe that the doctors had been called multiple times but the findings were all benign. However, a wedding for Billi’s cousin, Hao Hao, is organized in Changchun. It gives everyone an excuse to unite and spend one last time with Nai Nai before she passes away. However, Billi’s parents are afraid that their daughter might spill the beans to Nai Nai and asks her to stay away. Billi makes the trip from New York City to China on her own, arriving shortly after her family. Although the woman assures her family that she has no intention of revealing the cancer diagnosis to Nai Nai, she finds herself clashing with other family members and the doctor treating her over the fact that the diagnosis is being deliberately kept from her.
Billi becomes increasingly guilt-ridden and exposes her doubts about the Chinese culture which allows the family to hide the news of the potentially life-threatening disease from the matriarch. There is a wonderful juxtaposition of eastern and western cultural values as Billi’s uncle Haibin explains that the family lying about the diagnosis puts the burden of truth on them rather than Nai Nai herself. It is a practice of collectivism that is different from the individualistic practices of the West. Moreover, Billi learns that Nai Nai lied to her husband similarly before his death.
Finally, the day of the wedding arrives. Haibin and Hao Hao both break down in tears but ultimately manage to proceed through the rest of the ceremony without raising any suspicions. Nai Nai is blissfully unaware of anything being afoot. Later that night, Nai Nai meets Billi and gives her a hóngbāo (monetary gift) and encourages her to spend the money as she chooses. When Billi tells her grandmother about her Guggenheim Fellowship rejection, she responds by encouraging Billi to follow her dreams. Towards the end of the film, we see Billi make the promise to keep Nai Nai’s diagnosis a secret from her. Following a teary farewell, the family members all return to America and Japan. The credits of the movie reveal that the woman Nai Nai’s character is based on is alive six years after the diagnosis.
Is The Farewell on Netflix?
Netflix has an amazing collection of films and television shows, which is what sets it apart as a premier content provider. ‘The Farewell’ is not on Netflix, but you can enjoy an excellent comedy-drama titled ‘Sierra Burgess Is a Loser‘. The film is based on a case of mistaken identity that brings together the most and least popular girls from high school, who have to put their heads together and work to win over their crushes.
Is The Farewell on Hulu?
Hulu is always trying to make smart additions to its impressive library of films and television shows in order to cater to its viewers, who always seem to be growing in numbers. Though ‘The Farewell’ is not on the platform, don’t let that get you down. You can check out a fantastic film called ‘Sorry To Bother You‘. While the comedy-drama is tonally different from ‘The Farewell’, it is the kind of movie that will make you think about society and its class stratifications, while also enjoying a good laugh.
Is The Farewell on Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime has a fantastic collection of films and television shows, that is perhaps only beaten by Netflix. Unfortunately for Prime subscribers, ‘The Farewell’ is not available on the platform yet. However, don’t let that get you down as you can enjoy a lovely comedy-drama titled ‘Hot Tub Time Machine‘. As the title suggests, a group of friends finds that their adventures in the hot tub have managed to transport them to 1986. Changing as little as possible, the friends must attempt to figure out a way to return to the present.
Where Can I Stream The Farewell Online?
Unfortunately, at this time, if you do not have a subscription to any of the major platforms, you are out of luck. ‘The Farewell’ is not available for streaming elsewhere on the internet.
Is The Farewell Out on DVD and BluRay?
Unfortunately, ‘The Farewell’ is not out on DVD and BluRay yet. However, we completely understand if you are running out of patience, in which case you can pre-order your copy here.
Where Can I Watch The Farewell Online For Free?
Sorry to disappoint the freeloaders, but right now, there is no way to stream ‘The Farewell’ for free. You have to wait till it arrives on one of the platforms that allow free streaming. Alternately, you can catch it at a theater where the movie is still being screened.
As usual, we would like to urge all our readers to pay for all the art that they consume.