Awkwafina starred in a family drama

11.12.2019     /     News author: Alexandra

Awkwafina starred in a family drama
© Instagram / Awkwafina
Virtually every year, films that for one reason or another captivate American critics and whose acclamation make them come to the awards season come from the Sundance festival. Some clear examples of this “Sundance phenomenon” are ‘Beasts of the Wild South’, ‘Blue Valentine’, ‘Winter’s Bone’ or even the most recent ‘Call Me By Your Name’. This year the one chosen to follow this pattern seems to be 'The Farewell', whose peculiarity lies in the fact that the predominant language is Mandarin Chinese and that it deals with a very current and important issue in the United States: the claim of the roots of immigrants and that limbo between the two cultures in which they often tend to meet.

Lulu Wang, in his second film, is inspired by his own family experiences with the rapper - and occasionally an actress - Awkwafina as an aspiring writer in New York who is informed of the incurable cancer suffered by her grandmother, who lives in China. Thus, she and her family travel to their home country to see each other for the last time, deceiving the matriarch - who is not informed of her condition - that the reason for the celebration is the wedding of one of her grandchildren. The most interesting thing about ‘The Farewell’ is how it exposes the cultural contrast and how it represents it in a person born in China and raised in America since the age of 6; lost between two worlds, without fully identifying as American and in turn without fully understanding Chinese traditions.

Awkwafina, which has been seen in comic roles such as 'Crazy Rich Asians', changes the record carrying the dramatic weight of the film playing a character who not only suffers from the tragic illness of his grandmother, but also a depressing vital moment in which it is not clear the direction that your professional life will take. Her portrait of her character is probably the highlight of the film; a nuanced interpretation with those little details that make the difference between right and excellent, full of humanity and feeling. Also the rest of the cast of supporting characters offers good roles, especially Shuzen Zhao as the grandmother in which is his film debut.

Assuming all the mentioned merits of the proposal, ‘The Farewell’ unfortunately does not fully exploit its full potential. She is determined to be only a crowdpleaser more than, although it is pleasant to see, it is also to forget. Maybe the packaging is different from what we usually see, but it is still a film that follows the typical scheme of many indie films “made in Sundance” (yes, the festival has also unconsciously created a type of films that already form practically a genre in itself). The script has fun moments that bring it closer to a wider audience than most Chinese movies could opt for, but despite the language, ‘The Farewell’ is an absolutely American film in its narrative. It is tender and sincere, but not particularly relevant.

It may have its place in the Oscar nominations in important categories - and better actress would not be any nonsense -, included in the main one, but how many films in recent years have achieved those merits and do not even remember them? And there is also the option of finally only staying in the independent awards circuit. With or without prizes, Lulu Wang's film will certainly please a good handful of viewers looking to find a story full of good feelings and have a good time.

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