The Farewell is one of those indies that seems to have legs, still showing in first-run theaters for the eleventh week as of this post date. Legs always get me to see movies that I otherwise would skip — I feel if a movie is going to have staying power, there’s a reason for it. A 100% Tomatometer score among Top Critics and the amiable, energetic charm of Awkwafina sealed the deal. As a bonus, I got to finally see a film at the local art-film screening/media center known as the Digital Gym.
There’s obviously a lot of heart in The Farewell. Naturally, with the whole death theme, there was some poignancy that ran throughout. This was not missed on me. Sadly, the story is mostly non-existent. It’s basically Awkwafina moping around for an hour and a half. Her spirited presence in Crazy Rich Asians has been left far behind, forgotten on a distant continent.
The tone is off too. I thought about how much better Woody Allen handled material like this. Even the comic moments mostly played very flat. There’s no spark here. Shame on those who think the art and hard work of thousands upon thousands of people involved over the decades in Woody Allen projects should be thrown in the toilet.
IT’S BASICALLY AWKWAFINA MOPING AROUND FOR 90 MINUTES
The Farewell is not without a bright moment or two, but this true story is a yawner. A documentary, as hinted at upon the conclusion, would have been more enlightening. More lecturing about the differences between Chinese and American culture, ideas I’ve already heard a million times, does not move me. 4/10