otspotlight’s review published on Letterboxd:
A little late to this party but finally saying hello to 'The Farewell' and Lulu Wang's family tale is both heartbreaking and heart-warming.
"Based on an actual lie" is what opens the picture as we learn that this "lie" is in fact a true story and partly based on the experiences of Wang and a common practice of Chinese culture. Going as far as the fact that Grandma Nai Nai's younger sister in the film, is actually played by Wang's real-life grandmother's younger sister, Lu Hong.
The story is straight-forward and even slightly mundane, never really going much deeper than its premise however said premise has enough tears and heart punches that it doesn't really need to. Even if you aren't of the film's presented culture, the themes of family, loss, torn morals and dishonest honesty will be relatable to most people. Commenting not only on family but also parallels the immigrant life and ties to your homeland, how it can be so close and yet so distant and the morbid reality of having to say goodbye.
The performances here are all wonderfully natural and a very welcome change of pace for its star Nora Lum, better known as comedian and internet personality Awkwafina, who proves her ability to act in a far more serious manner than what we've seen of her until now. Zhao Shu-zhen as Grandma Nai Nai is a delight and will warm your heart before proceeding to slowly rip it out. Other cast members include Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong, and Jiang Yongbo.
Lulu Yang's true-to-life tale is funny, poignant and heart-wrenching, it will warm you and it'll tear you up. 'The Farewell' is a film that any audeicne can connect with, and one that'll linger in your feels long after the credits roll.