The Farewell

Critics Consensus

The Farewell deftly captures complicated family dynamics with a poignant, well-acted drama that marries cultural specificity with universally relatable themes.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 329

87%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 2,490

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Movie Info

The film follows a Chinese family who, when they discover their beloved Grandmother has only a short while left to live, decide to keep her in the dark and schedule an impromptu wedding to gather before she passes. Billi, feeling like a fish out of water in her home country, struggles with the family's decision to hide the truth from her grandmother.

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Critic Reviews for The Farewell

All Critics (329) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (322) | Rotten (7)

  • What follows is a series of hackneyed scenes about the different interpersonal relationships within the family, centering on the heroine's bond with her grandmother.

    December 17, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The Farewell is a comedy of warmth and bracing honesty. Simply put, it's one of the best films of the year.

    October 10, 2019 | Rating: 5/5
  • You'll be spewing with tears before the first act is done.

    September 20, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Wang's family story is modestly affecting and deserves an audience, but if it does prompt thoughts about weighing up the importance of emotional truth, they mainly come afterwards.

    September 19, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Panic and self-doubt are at the heart of [the] movie...

    September 18, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • The film could have had wit, attitude, poignancy, style - or any single one of the four. Instead it slithers along, shallow and soapy.

    September 18, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Farewell

  • Apr 05, 2020
    Totally my mistake that I went from it. Not a preferred genre and the way it was done only made it worse. Overdose of emotional outbursts. Spared myself of this misery after watching 30 minutes or so.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Jan 23, 2020
    Lulu Wang never over-explains the themes or specific cultural references, which allows the movie to wash over you. The ending is greatly moving in its simplicity.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2019
    The Farewell is insightful, intimate and emotionally heartfelt thanks to its insightful story and themes as well as its solid lead performances from Awkwafina and company. The film does enough to make audiences feel and understand for the family. 4.26/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 05, 2019
    A24 is a studio that knows how to pick and choose their films wisely. Truthfully, I believe them to be the greatest current film studio, as far as releasing consistently great content. I will always back them as a company, so when I say one of their films is terrible (if the day ever comes), it must be a pretty bad movie. The Farewell is one of their latest theatrical releases and while it may not strike a chord for everyone like it did for me, this is a genuine film from start to finish, not straying away from the characters and story it's showcasing. Directed with a lot of care and effort by Lulu Wang, The Farewell follows a family as they travel to China in order to attend a wedding, simply as an excuse to bring the family together as a goodbye for a dying family member, who they refuse to give truthful information to. The fact that this is an actual thing that goes on is kind of odd, seeing as most people usually know when doctors have given the information, but this "based on a true lie" as the film states, and it really did make for an emotionally compelling narrative. I've only really ever experienced Awkwafina as a comedic actress in films like Crazy Rich Asians or Ocean's 8, but she has now proven that dramatic work may suit her even more than comedic. The focus is on her throughout the majority of the film, as the broke, kind of immature young adult of the family, and the fact that she disagrees with this whole scenario is what brought this film home for me, making it feel relatable. The Farewell does many things right, but the number one thing is the characters surrounding the premise. This movie would have collapsed without them as the backbone.  Lulu Wang is absolutely a director that I will be keeping an eye on after her work here. Only having done one other feature film in Posthumous, The Farewell feels like a giant leap forward and I can't wait to see how her career expands. The way she has delivered such a stellar cast of characters here feels more authentic than most films out there today, especially this year. With so many big-budget films hitting cinemas, this movie feels like a giant refresher and I loved nearly every second of it. In the end, as always, hardly any films in history are flawless, but The Farewell definitely comes close. If anything, I found the movie to be a little too short, as I would have liked to explore more about what is said in the credits of the film. With that said, this is an exceptional drama that I will gladly revisit in the coming months/years. The performances alone deserve to be seen more than once. If the Oscars were being held soon, I would say Awkwafina definitely deserves some recognition. The Farewell is a great indie film that deserves more attention.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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