"Farewell" starts in 1981 Moscow where Pierre Froment(Guillaume Canet) steps away from his daughter's dance recital because he says he accidentally left his car door open. Which he did. On purpose, for Sergei Gregoriev(Emir Kusturica) who is none too pleased with the amateur theatrics when he is serious about handing over secrets to the West. Well, Vallier(Niels Arestrup) of the DST kind of likes the amateur status of Froment, thank you for asking, since the KGB will never be looking in his direction. The next meeting goes much better with the KGB Colonel handing the French businessman classified documents which get passed on to Vallier. Newly elected French President Mitterand(Philippe Magnan) then uses the valuable information to placate Reagan(Fred Ward) when he complains about stinkin' Commies in his cabinet.
Inspired by a true story, "Farewell" succeeds with no little help from an eclectic cast(David Soul? Really? Seriously?) to build a compelling story on personal and historical levels by not laying it on too thick(a little obviously, maybe, with an ending that's drawn out) in its international game of give and take. The history proposed here is much more believable than anything involving a rogue Congressman from Texas, even as some may be choking on their French fries when credit is given to the French. Plus, the period music actually made me feel nostalgic for a change.
All of which is only possible through trust, albeit sometimes misplaced. That leads into a tale of friendship and a different kind of hero.(I like how the movie references "The Man who Shot Liberty Valance" by turning it on its head.) To be honest, I did not like Gregoriev to start because he sounds like a fanatic in his call for a need for change away from the stagnation of the Brezhnev era but quickly warmed up to him.(Now, I supposed one could play the Stalin card when bringing up Soviet Communism which I would then trump with the Khruschev card with his bringing the Soviet Union kicking and screaming out into the bright light of the day.) Even at Froment's urging, Gregoriev cannot leave his homeland, as he could never return which would force him into a life of permanent exile, yelling himself hoarse at ballparks. Now, all we have to figure out is how to peacefully remove Putin from office.