Eli Hayes’s review published on Letterboxd:
I prefer Bing, to be honest:/ haha, just fucking around of course. I wanted to watch something good for my thousandth film of 2019, and this did not disappoint; I had no idea it was going to be a foreign language film. I hope more filmmakers follow Lulu Wang's suit -- and Steven Soderbergh's, for that matter, with regard to Che, a project to which Terrence Malick, who will come up again momentarily, was originally attached -- and start making more foreign-set films in foreign languages, rather than taking the easier and more audience-friendly route of just shooting in English.
Looking at you, Terry, even though you're tied with James Benning for the title of my favorite American director. And yes, I know, there is some German in A Hidden Life as well... but Malick knows German, and has even translated Heidegger(!), so I see no reason why A Hidden Life couldn't have been shot entirely in German, especially considering Malick's target audience would likely be alright with subtitles. Anyway, I digress, lol: The Farewell is a great film. The ending is particularly extraordinary & brought the whole film up a half star for me. Also, I wasn't expecting to relate to it this heavily.
The inciting incident is essentially a grandmother receiving a diagnosis of Stage IV cancer, and her family making the decision not to tell her about the extremity of her illness. I have, sadly, been through a deeply similar situation, despite not having been the one with cancer. When I lost my father, he also had Stage IV (esophageal) cancer, but I was told that he was in remission -- because people, especially impulsive people such as myself, do wild things in response to fear -- and his dying wish was to see me walk at my high school graduation. It was only when he arrived at the graduation ceremony that I saw, with my own eyes, he was certainly not in remission; he died less than a month later. I love you, Dad.