The Guardian

The Farewell

Wednesday, 9pm, Film4


“Based on an actual lie”, Lulu Wang’s exceptional drama tells the true story of her Chinese grandma. Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao) has stage 4 lung cancer but the rest of the family decide to keep the terminal news from her (this is perfectly legal in China). Awkwafina plays her New York-based grandchild Billi, who reluctantly plays along with the deception at a cousin’s hastily arranged wedding – a pretext to gather the diaspora to see Nai Nai for the final time. Amid much eating, drinking and stifled tears, a China-expat culture clash plays out, stress-testing deeply held ideas of family, death and marriage.

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