James’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is really a lovely, personal little film. Surprisingly funny and absolutely wholesome. How do you come to terms with an impending death without being allowed to acknowledge it? How do you say goodbye when you’re not given the opportunity for catharsis?
With what an audience member called a new renaissance of Asian American cinema, Wang is (and should be) at the forefront. The Farewell just beat opening box office records, including Endgame, to have the highest grossing per theater average in history.
In a Q&A afterwards (bless Arclight), Wang added what I thought was a thoughtful coda to her position at the forefront of this so-called renaissance—“We’re used to being called ‘marginalized’ but I’m not. My family is my entire world. My grandmother is the center of the story. Not my ‘Asian’ grandmother.” This is not a merely visual, plastic representation. The intention here is not to alienate or to contrive the Eastern culture as “other.” Through Billi, we see and appreciate the meaningful cultural differences she is torn between to great effect. More like this, please.