6.5/10 Based on a fascinating true story, “The Farewell” is at its best when we get up close and personal with the relationships this film establishes, particularly between a granddaughter (Awkwafina) and her grandmother (Shuzhen Zhao). Where this film falters is when director Lulu Wang wastes time on moments for stylistic purposes but don’t forward the narrative, resulting in a film, that while decent, can be slow and boring at times. The biggest flaw this film has is the pacing and that it at times slows to a crawl and becomes meandering and boring. Some editing and cuts could have done so much for this film. There are moments that really capture and engage you but other moments in the film go on too long and really start to drag. Despite some of the dullness, there are some traits to really admire about this film. First off, the premise is a really simple yet interesting one. The fact that it is based off of a true lie (as the film advertises) makes it all that much more fascinating. At the end we get some information at the start of the ending credits that I really enjoyed. The dialogue is mostly really genuine and engaging and the emotional strength that this film has will really tug at your heart strings and is very relatable since we all had or have grandparents, living or deceased. The most fascinating aspect of the film is the dynamic between the West and the East when it comes to dealing with death and how foreign the opposing views are to each other and also the generational views on death comparing the older, baby boomer views to the younger, millennial views on death. Seeing the differences as both sides struggled with having no easy answer but sticking to their tradition and values was really eye opening and intriguing and I wish the film would have explored even more of that. The soundtrack was ok but the score stood out as one of the year’s best so far. Most of the main characters felt very real and the cancer stricken grandma was the highlight of the film. She was playful, funny, opinionated and felt very much like a typical grandma, encouraging everyone to eat, worrying about people for no reason and always claiming to be fine no matter what. Most of the male characters worked really well even though some of the supporting characters (the bride and groom for example) felt underdeveloped and a bit dry. It is no secret I absolutely hated the abysmal “Crazy Rich Asians” but seeing this film showed me that Awkwafina definitely has some acting chops on her and I hope she takes more roles like this as opposed to roles like “Crazy Rich Asians”. Despite editing and pacing problems making this film rather dull, slow and boring in stretches, the genuine emotion, realistic main characters, original premise and satisfying conclusion make this a film overall worth seeing for the patient viewers out there. This film won’t be for everyone but its originality is to be applauded and celebrated like a wedding.
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