ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 14: The Farewell

In 2000, we learned that my grandfather had cancer. He went through chemotherapy, and my mother and I went up to help him and get him to doctor’s appointments as he ended up in assisted living. I was there the day he received his terminal diagnosis, and 7 of the next 10 weeks were spent trying to comfort him, and get things prepared for after the inevitable happened. It finally did in late July. I was very close to him- he was like another parent to me. It was devastating. Those months come to the forefront of my mind in contemplating Lulu Wang’s beautiful dramatic comedy, “The Farewell.” Inspired by her own life, Wang tells the story of her family whom, when they find out the worst about their beloved Nai Nai, they do what is unthinkable to most of us- they don’t tell her.

Review: The Farewell

It takes true talent to create a film that is both incredibly specific to one culture and somehow universal to all audiences. Luckily, Lulu Wang has this talent as she amply proves in “The Farewell” (2019). Wang wrote and directed this endearing film based partially on her own life and family. It originated as a radio story, “What You Don’t Know,” that was part of an episode of “This American Life.” This year, it came to the big screen and is sure to remain one of the most important films to come out of 2019.

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