Awkwafina has been known for bringing her own brand of humor to comedic films. But we will see a new side of her in Lulu Wang’s The Farwell. In it, she plays Billi, a Chinese-born and U.S. raised child who returns to China, with her parents, to be with their beloved Nai-Nai for one last time. But instead of telling her that she is dying of cancer, they tell Nai-Nai that they are all her for a family wedding.
Many praised Awkwafina’s performance as strong and soulful in an honest and poignant film that has a universal story.
Written and directed by Wang, the film tag says that it is “based on an actual lie.” Here’s the official plot synopsis:
“A Chinese family discover that their beloved grandmother has only a short time left to live, and instead of telling her, they whip up an impromptu wedding to gather the family together before she passes.”
Since debuting at the Sundance film festival earlier this year, the film has earned critical acclaim, with many applauding it’s an endearing and honest story. I can’t help but feel a little connected to this story considering that I went through the same experience last year. Additionally, the fact that I can see myself through these characters makes that connection even stronger.
I can’t stress how important this film is for representation and indie films. Here we see something that is engaging and sincere without having to pander to the audience. This is a universal story that many people go through, it just so happens that the central characters happen to be Asian. And I think that is what really appeals to me the most.
The Farewell also stars Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong, Jiang Yongbo, Chen Han, Aoi Mizuhara, Li Xiang.
It opens in theaters on July 12, 2019.