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  • Entertainment

MOVIE: The Farewell says hello to Asian dramedy

Wednesday, 18th September, 2019 7:00pm
MOVIE: The Farewell says hello to Asian dramedy
MOVIE: The Farewell says hello to Asian dramedy

YOU have to wonder why Hollywood doesn’t make more Asian themed movies.

The size of the Chinese cinema going market alone (the biggest in the world) would seem to make it worthwhile, and following on from the success of last year’s ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, things may be about to change.

‘The Farewell’ tells the story (based on the real life events of writer/director, Lulu Wang) of Chinese-American writer Billi who returns to Changchun to spend time with her dying grandmother, Nai Nai. The only complication is that the extended family have failed to tell Nai Nai that she’s suffering from a terminal illness, preferring instead to stage an impromptu wedding to have one last celebration together.

The result is a film that’s both sad and amusing in equal parts with a solid central performance from ‘Awkwafina’ who also stole the show in Crazy Rich Asians.

And while this movie is far less wacky and so clearly aimed at a mainstream US audience as its Asian themed predecessor, the mix of comedy and serious drama creates a better result.

There are many Hollywood movies that contain high body counts, but few that deal with death in an effective manner.

‘The Farewell’ succeeds by not taking itself too seriously and we award it a review score of 3.5 deadly stars.

If you’re looking for something completely different, ‘Ad Astra’ has a stellar cast that includes Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler and our very own Ruth Negga in a space based adventure that sees Pitt search the cosmos for his missing father.

The film received a degree of buzz and acclaim at the recent Venice Film Festival where some were saying that Pitt may soon be pitted against Pitt, with possible best actor Oscar nominations for both Ad Astra and ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’.

And while we explore the depths of endless space with director James Gray (‘Lost City of Z’), ultimately, like all films, this one comes down to human relationships, a man trying to connect with his father. Maybe it’s not that different from ‘The Farewell’ after all.

Paul O’Rourke

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