• Anna Martini

The Farewell and the distance

The City of Angels is so far away...

I watched most of The Farewell through tears of sadness, joy and frustration. To clarify, the point they argue over, about lying because you're holding the burden for the other person, that doesn't cut it for me. There is no question over if someone should be told the truth about their own body, it's illegal and immoral to do so, no matter where you are. I think the talk about how we deal with information and how people get sick from worrying, that's a good point. We should be there for others, share the burdens and joys, but lying isn't the way to go at all.

I had an amazing experience by watching this movie on the theater. I cried a lot of times during it, until I finally had to get up and leave because I started being loud and lose control. The movie was basically over when I left (though I didn't know it), bare feet, and hyperventilating, to cry outside, and the first woman to come out of the theater was an asian american whose life was exactly like the protagonist's. We were both red faced and started crying again when she told me about going home and not being allowed to talk to her grandmother about her cancer, and how she had to leave for the US and couldn't go back for the funeral.

Based on an actual lie, hopefully this will also help the new generations find the strength to change.

This woman mentions how bad she felt about not being able to be truthful with her grandmother, and how she thinks that was wrong. She also mentions how being there, there wasn't even a possibility of telling the truth. It's so important for something like this story to be shared so people see how impossible it is, to have your entire family prohibit you to speak of something this big, and you don't feel alone. Hopefully, this will also help the new generations to change this practice.

Jennifer Bisset, of CNET, mentions how "The Farewell is an important exploration of the cultural limbo many Chinese-born Americans find themselves in.." (link to article here) but I think it has to power to reach anyone who's living away from their family the way Billi does. I'm from Brazil, and I empathized with Billi when she was talking about going to America, not having any family there, and when she went back to China not encountering her grandfather who passed away. Missing out on life with the people you left in your home country, your family and friends, and possibly losing them while being away, is a constant fear. As well as treading cultural differences.

The movie spoke to me even though I wasn't anywhere near the Chinese-American experience, through it's human experience.

Have you seen The Farewell? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


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