THE FAREWELL – Review by Susan Granger

Written and directed by Lulu Wang, based on her own experiences, this intergenerational-bonding comic drama revolves around a Chinese-American artist, Billi (Awkwafina), living in Brooklyn, who returns to her hometown in northeastern China when she learns that her adored Nai-Nai – grandmother in Mandarin- has Stage IV lung cancer.

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THE FAREWELL – Review by Martha K Baker

The story is based, not on a true story, but on a true lie. Billi, a woman of Chinese extraction lives in America, but part of her heart remains with her grandmother, her Nai Nai, in China. When she learns that Nai Nai has been diagnosed with cancer and, further, that the family is gathering for a wedding as a ruse to say good-bye to the matriarch, she stubbornly insists on joining.

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Lulu Wang on THE FAREWELL, Immigrants and Traditional Cultures – Nell Minow interviews

Lulu Wang lets the audience know right away that her new film, The Farewell, is “based on an actual lie.” Awkwafina plays a character based on Wang herself, the daughter of Chinese immigrants to the US. The story is about what happened when Wang’s grandmother, still in China, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. The practice in China is to tell family members, but not the patient. In an interview, Wang talked about the inevitable conflicts between immigrants and their American-raised children and about deciding when to lie and when she’d like to be lied to.

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Lulu Wang on THE FAREWELL, Love and Her Grandmother – Sarah Knight Adamson interviews

Lulu Wang speaks about the special bond Wang shares with her grandmother and some of the qualities that she most admires in her grandmother. “My grandmother is an incredibly strong person, she actually joined the Army at age 14 as a way to escape an arranged marriage, and that speaks a lot to who she is as a person. She’s a very willful person, and she’s the one who really holds the entire family together. We’ve always had a special relationship because I’ve always been told that I take after her,” says Wang.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Farewell Kudos to Katniss, NYT Inequality Callout, plus Editors, Emma and EDA – Brandy McDonnell reports

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 boasts a bittersweet ending, and who knows when Hollywood will give us another

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GO BACK TO CHINA – Review by April Neale

Following the successful release of Crazy Rich Asians and The Farewell, writer/director Emily Ting’s Go Back to China is a coming of age story that deals in an entertaining, upbeat way with the issues faced by Chinese Americans caught in the clash between the American way of life and traditional Chinese culture, between habits picked up in an adopted homeland and cultural roots planted on ancestral turf.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Awkwafina’s Two New High-Profile Projects – Brandy McDonnell Reports

With her signing on to two high-profile projects in less a month, we’re seeing another phase in the rapidly morphing career of Awkwafina, the rapper who broke out as a comedic actor in last year’s blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians and is gaining early awards consideration for her finely nuanced lead turn in this year’s critically acclaimed drama The Farewell.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Femme-helmed, femme-centric films sell big at Sundance 2019 – Brandy McDonnell reports

Some of the biggest sales of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, which started January 24, have gone to femme-centric, woman-directed films, including the Mindy Kaling-Emma Thompson vehicle Late Night, and the Awkwafina starrer The Farewell and Pippa Bianco’s feature film debut Share.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 7, 2020: A SIMPLE WEDDING

If you were to blend My Big Fat Greek Wedding with The Big Sick — and add a dash of Crazy Rich Asians — you might end up with something close to A Simple Wedding, Sara Zandieh‘s entertaining romcom about a thirtysomething Iranian American woman who wants to find love on her own terms.

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