The Farewell ★★★½

There were a few moments when Wang unexpectedly decided to break from the restrained style she maintained throughout most of the film. These moments were, unfortunately, the only parts of the film I found distracting and unsuccessful.

However, the film works because it places the viewer in the center of two separate and seemingly irreconcilable cultural attitudes. What is dutiful to the most Americanized member of the family is in fact shameful to the rest of the family and vice-versa. So we painfully watch as they lie to their amiable matriarch, with contradictory feelings of catharsis and shame following displays of sincere emotion. And despite the family's commitment to these Chinese cultural norms, their reliance on Western culture is also very real, leaving the validity of their Chinese identity more ambiguous than they want to admit. Nonetheless, Wang never stops showing love for these characters or the lie that they cling to - absurd as it might be - because it could be the last trace of their disappearing roots.

Grant liked this review