"Based on an actual lie.” That’s how Lulu Wang’s new film The Farewell starts out, before China-born, U.S.-raised Billi (Awkwafina) returns to Changchun as her family prepares to say goodbye to their matriarch Nai Nai, who’s been diagnosed with cancer. The one catch: Nai Nai doesn’t know she’s sick.
An interview with Matt Zoller Seitz
An interview with Alissa Wilkinson
"It’s a super testosteroney movie—a bunch of men, a lot of violence, the cops are dudes, the guys in the neighborhoods are dudes. But no one was looking at this with empathy, like, “What does it mean to be a human being living in this space?” To me that was a very female gaze, though the movie wasn’t about women."
"The fact is that these final years of Nico’s life were arguably the best years because she was much more in control, she was happy, and she had her band."
"You know how, in therapy, you realize something was the cause of something else? This film was like natural therapy for me. I started thinking, 'What else do I remember about the one-child policy, and how did it affect me?'"
"I’ve gotten better at letting it go, but something like that scene sort of stays with you for a bit. It’s hard to shake that off after the work is done. It definitely involved a really long hot shower and maybe a bath and a martini or something."
"Kenny has such a deep understanding of his characters, and also a deep understanding of human behavior. The way his characters relate to each other just strikes me as completely real and relatable, in a way I find profound in its simplicity."
"I think it’s a movie to really be proud of, no matter how difficult it was to make. I’m glad that Kenny survived it, really, and that everyone will gradually come to watch Margaret eventually. I think it’s something that will last."
"It’s basically a coming of age story, but it appeals to me enormously because Kenny manages to both embrace the wonderfulness and beauty of adolescence and the shaping of an adult—how glorious it is, and what a great triumph it is for all of us that anybody survives their childhood or their adolescence."