It’s Not All That . .

Wayne Muromoto
Commentary, Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Positive Asian American representation in mainstream American pop culture is so rare that I want to give any effort encouragement. “The Farewell,” a movie about a Chinese American woman reconnecting with her family in China, has all the ingredients for an honestly insightful and dramatic story that would resonate not only with Asian Americans, but with every audience, regardless of ethnicity. But, I will probably make fans of this movie angry. To me, it overpromises and underdelivers.

Billi, played by Awkwafina, is a blunt and brash New York City Chinese American who returns to her birthplace in mainland China. Her Nai Nai (grandmother, played by Zhao Shuzen) has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The extended family wants to get together for a final farewell, but they don’t want to tell her that she is dying.

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