The Farewell (2019) Movie Review

Director: Lulu Wang

Writer: Lulu Wang (Screenplay)

Starring: Shuzhen Zhao, Awkwafina, X Mayo, Hong Lu, Hong Lin, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin

Plot: A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.

Tagline – Based on an Actual Lie

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Beautiful

Story: The Farewell starts as we see Billi (Awkwafina) living in New York city close to her parents Haiyan (Ma) and Lu Jian (Lin), Billi is close to her Nai Nai (Zhao) back in China, always son the phone with her despite the 12 hour time difference. When Billi learns something isn’t right at home with her parents, she learns the truth, that Nai Nai is going to be dying soon, but the family isn’t going to tell her as it is part of the culture not to let somebody know they are dying.

The family has arranged a big wedding for one of Billi’s cousins with this being a chance for Nai Nai to have a gather of family before she goes, while Billie starts to become conflicted with how the cultural style is being handled.

Thoughts on The Farewell

Characters – Billi is the young woman that is struggling with her life in America, she is close to her family, with her parents in New York with her and her grandmother back in China, where she speaks to often despite the time difference. She learns that her Nai Nai is sick and wants to talk about it, only to learn about the culture, that didn’t even want to invite her along to a surprise wedding to celebrate Nai Nai’s life. Billi shows us how conflicted she is with wanting to follow the cultural beliefs, with the ideas of getting to spend time in happiness with Nai Nai. She does learn from each family member just what these moments will mean to Nai Nai too. Nai Nai is the kind grandmother, who has cancer and is going to die, she doesn’t know this because the family and doctors choice not to tell her to give her a final few months of happiness, she knows everything her family is up to in their lives and is delighted to see everybody back together for the wedding. We do meet the whole family with Billi’s parents needing to explain the cultural importance of the situation, the young couple getting married and how many of the family have left for America, while not spending time with the family back in China.

PerformancesWe do have two true star performances here with Shuzhen Zhao being the dying woman that is filled with delight, even though you do see in her performance that she knows the truth. Awkwafina is wonderful too, we see how she is conflicted through the film wanting to break down, but never letting it happen. When it comes to the supporting cast everybody is strong through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a Chinese family that comes together for a wedding, which is being used as a cover up for the family to come together to spend time with a dying relative, one they don’t want to tell the news too. This story does show a cultural idea that puts a person’s happiness over giving them bad news, showing that family will come together for the important moment in life to just have a good time and celebrate life, for what will be the last time. It does show the confliction that one person will feel and will once again show that family will be there for you, even if you are struggling in life.

ComedyThe comedy in this film is shown with just how Nai Nai gets to have a good couple of weeks with her family, when she isn’t around, we get the more serious moments, but we focus on the happy moments.

SettingsThe film is set in China for the most part, we get to see the homes, the important locations and the wedding which is the key part of the happiness for the family.

Scene of the Movie – The Wedding.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – I am going to be picky here, certain subtitles are difficult to read with the background colour being too similar to the font.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful movie that puts the spotlight on a cultural difference that you might not know about in real life, but one that is one that is so delightful and heart breaking to see unfold.

Overall: Wonderful Watch.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – P – Parasite (2019) Movie Review

Director: Bong Joon Ho

Writer: Bong Joon Ho, Jin Won Han (Screenplay)

Starring: Song Kang Ho, Lee Sun Kyun, Cho Yeo Jeong, Choi Woo Shik, Park So Dam, Lee Jung Eun, Chang Hyae Jin

Plot: All unemployed, Ki-taek and his family take peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks, as they ingratiate themselves into their lives and get entangled in an unexpected incident.

Tagline – Act like you own the place

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Astonishing

Story: Parasite starts as we meet the Kim family, all unemployed, with father Ki-taek (Kang Ho), mother Chung-sook (Hye-jin) and adult children, former military service Ki-woo (Woo-sik) and genius computer wizard Ki-jung (So-dam), they take simple jobs like folding pizza boxes, until Ki-woo gets pushed into taking a tutoring job for the Park family, teaching Da-hye (Ji-so) English.

Soon after Ki-woo gets a job for the family, the Park family businessman Dong Ik (Sun-kyun) his wife Yeon-kyo (Yeo-Jeong) fill the roles of their trusted staff with Ki-woo’s family as they get themselves secure well paying jobs, but not everything is as it seems with the house.

Thoughts on Parasite

Characters – Ki-taek Kim is the father of the unemployed family, he has always looked out for his family, while they search for their next meal, once the job opens up for him, he becomes the driver, proving to be a model employee. Ki-woo gets the first job as a tutor for the daughter in the family, he sees this as a chance to get to university, where he makes the plan for the family to get the extra jobs. Ki-jung is the daughter of the family that will become an art therapist for the family, while Chung-sook takes over the house as the maid. This family shows the poverty a family can be experiencing and just how far they would go to try and get out of it. The Park family has businessman Dong-ik who has always been patient with people, letting his wife do the hardest decisions in life, while supporting her always. Yeon-kyo is the wife that deals with the everyday routines in the house, she will do everything she needs to with the people she trusts, even if this does mean she can be taken advantage of.

PerformancesWe have incredible performances from the whole cast here Song Kang-ho in the leading role shines beyond belief in one of the performances of the year. Lee Sun-kyun and Jo Yeo-jeong give us wonderful supporting roles, with Choi Woo-sik, Park So-dam and Jang Hye-jin shining like the rest of the cast which is flawless throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows a poverty family that luck and con their way into secure jobs for one family, only to see everything spiral out of control in a story that highlights the lines between the rich and poor. This story is one of the most fascinating ones of the year, it does seem like it is going to be a simple enough story, but when everything goes out of control we get to see threads of the story unravel in every directions, see the highlights placed on the rich and poor divide, slowly chipping away at the poorer side of the family, as well as having the other incident going on (which does include too bigger spoilers). Much like ‘Shoplifters’ we see just how hopeless people can feel when they have no realistic future because money they can’t earn can’t give them an out. This is a perfect highlight of how to bring an original story to life, where the audience will be left to ponder what will happen next.

ComedyThe film is set up like a comedy which at times does work, with just how crazy certain moments are, though it doesn’t fall into a laugh out loud comedy.

SettingsThe film uses the settings excellently, with the poverty sized house the family can barely not have some drunk piss on the window, to the wealthy businessman who has earnt his way to the top, the difference in lifestyle is drastic with the locations almost being a character of their own.

Scene of the Movie – Party time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing.

Final Thoughts This is one of the most amazing films you will see this year, it will shock you and give us an important message about the clash system in the world.

Overall: Essential Movie.