Lulu Wang


Best films:
, /10
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Lulu Wang, born in China but raised in the USA, debuted with Posthumous (2014).

The Farewell (2019), apparently based on a real story, is a light-weight comedy that mainly explores the difference customs and values of China and the USA.

An old woman in China is talking on the phone with her granddaughter in New York, Billi. The grandmother is at the hospital for a test but doesn't tell the girl so not to worry her. When the test comes in, the granma's sister picks them up and tells granma that everything is ok. Meanwhile, Billi is denied the fellowship that she was hoping for and can't pay rent, so she moves back with her parents. Her parents break the news to her that granma is terminally ill with cancer and only has three months to live. Billi, who is very attached to the old woman, is devastated. She is also shocked that nobody is telling granma the truth. Billi's parents are flying to China for a fake wedding, invented in order to have the whole family see granma one last time without making her suspect the truth. Billi flies by herself to China and joins them. She is made to promise that she will not betray the secret with her gloomy looks. Everybody is supposed to be happy because of the wedding. When the families of granma's children are all assembled around a table for a big dinner they discuss the merits of the USA and of China. Granma is hospitalized again and everybody rushes to the hospital. A young handsome doctor examines her. He speaks English and Billi starts asking him questions about granma's conditions in front of granma, who doesn't understand English. The doctor explains to Billi that is common in China to hide the truth from a dying relative. The doctor then turns to granma and tells her that she only has an infection. Granma asks him if he is single and implies that he would be a good match for Billi. Later Billi's aunt tells Billi that granma did the same for her husband: when he was dying, she didn't tell him until it was obvious. The family visits granpa's grave at the cemetery and granma invokes his blessing for every member of the family. Billi is tempted to tell her the truth but all the older people keep telling her that it is not the way it is done in China. The fake wedding takes place and granma enjoys the emotional speeches, which are really meant for her, not for the couple. Billi runs to the hospital to intercept the results of the test, that would show the cancer. The family then pays a specialist to change them so that they reassure granma. It is time to fly back to the USA. Granma gives Billi an envelop full of money and Billi tells the truth, that she didn't get the fellowship. They fly back to the USA. The film ends and we are told that six years later granma is still alive.
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