I didn’t plan on watching a movie today and today I was pleasantly surprised to get a chance to watch The Farewell.
I choose this film firstly because it was a comedy. Secondly because it dealt with the grandmother having cancer. Thirdly because I was watching this only with my mom and I thought she would enjoy it.
I didn’t realize that it would be half in Chinese. I didn’t realize it would make me feel so much. I also didn’t realize I would laugh so much then cry then be happily surprised by its ending. This movie is so beautifully sweet and I never thought a lie would be so wonderful.
Billi has loved her entire life in America. She lives in New York along with her parents. She was doing her best to make something of her life. Yet, when she finds out that Nai Nai has cancer. She travels there alone when the rest of the family said she shouldn’t be there out of fear of letting the secret be known.
In Chinese culture when someone is ailing with cancer the whole family holds the burden of knowing it and no one says a word of what’s going on health wise with that person. They do this because they believe that it is the fear cancer brings to a person that kills them.
I have to say that sadly that’s very true. When my Dad knew he had cancer he started to deteriorate faster then I’d ever seen. I look at him now and he’s so much thinner and grayer. The only thing he has life for is Facebook. I’ve seen him get really depressed and mad at life. I’ve seen him cry for his situation and it’s broken my heart more then once.
It made me wish we could have not said anything to him about his cancer, but that’s illegal in the US. I wish I could see my dad as full of life as he was when I was a little girl. But, the cancer mixed with his mini-strokes have created a perfect storm of some really difficult circumstances.
Anyway, it made the travel of Billie and her family back to America a really hard scene for me to watch. I can’t imagine leaving my dad not knowing if I’d see him again. It’s made me someone who refuses to keep hold of grudges and who is always open about how I feel for someone. Especially when I love them. I live my life for each and everyday and I appreciate every moment I have with my family and friends.
But, this isn’t all about the sadness this movie was a comedy and it brought me a lot of joy as well! Part of this film that was really fun for me was the relationship between Billie and her mom. Billie is a little quirky and affectionate in a similar way to how I’m affectionate with my mom. She’d put her head on her mom’s shoulder and her mom would push her away with a little smack on the shoulder. In my life I’ve been on the receiving end of those sorts of smacks from my mom and it was cute to see that sort of mother daughter relationship dynamic play out on screen.
This movie had a beautiful balance of culture, comedy, and seriousness. I loved the insights I gained from it both in the big moments and the small ones. One being when Billie spoke with Nai Nai about losing her fellowship. Nai Nai told her that she’d lived a long life and that she was beautiful and smart and that she’d make her success along the way. She made light of something that felt like a big loss and I found that to be beautiful.
Food too was huge in this movie. Eating as a family and talking over huge lunches and dinners. A lot of the movie surrounded huge meals. Billie not wanting to eat to much was considered nonsense and her Nai Nai forcing her to take a bite was an adorable moment.
I loved this film. It’s family-centric. It’s both funny and deep. It made me smile far more then it made me cry. When I did cry I was sobbing like a baby only to find out that I didn’t need to cry at all.
Movies like this always make me want to hold close to those I love and to hold close to life itself. Life isn’t about the painful moments, but how you choose to live fully in spite of them. I highly recommend this film. It’s one that would warm your heart.
Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.
-Till next time!