Saturday, July 20, 2019

65 of 88

I went to see The Farewell yesterday.

I first heard about this movie during the press tour of Crazy Rich Asians. Awkwafina was expressing that the Asian representation in Hollywood movies was growing, and that she was starring in a more personal story.

If you did click through the trailer, you'll have the gist of what this story is. Whether or not you relate to it personally is of course a separate discussion.

For me well, it was hard to sit through sometimes. It was ... too real.

The story did not answer whether or not the lie was good, but instead focused on everybody's reaction and action to it. The answer ultimately is up to you. Is it good to keep a lie going for the sake of them being happy? Or should the person know and prepare for the eventuality? I'm not going to spoil the ending, but it did go one way over the other.

There was one part that stood out to me, and part of it is in the trailer. The difference between East and West.

What was not in the trailer... the idea that telling her will just shift the guilt and responsibility to Grandma, that she is now facing her own mortality. A lot of Asian families will choose to carry that guilt as a whole, preferring not to tell Grandma, and shoulder the responsibility together as a unit.

There is a saying in Chinese 报喜不报忧. Loosely translates to "report happiness but not sorrow". You can not only see that in this movie as a whole to grandma, but even little things. Even as the main character's failing in life, she doesn't tell Dad that things are not going well, she can't afford the rent.

The subsequent viewings gave me some more perspective. Actually I noticed an interesting dichotomy in the audience. There is a set of people who would take a particular scene at face value, and laugh at the awkwardness of the situation. The other set would initially chuckle, but quickly quiet down. It seemed to me that the second group of people understand that while the situation looks ridiculous, they did find some particular point of connection.

If it is not abundantly clear haha, I highly recommend people to see it.

In any case that you don't intend to see the movie but are interested to know what happens.
This is the episode of This American Life where writer and director of "The Farewell" Lulu Wang recounts the actual story:


Love 爱. Family 家庭. Responsibility 责任. Conviction 执着.

I did not know when responsibility came around.
I was driven, blindly. I missed a lot of things, I glossed over a lot of things.

It is apt then, when I did open today's piece of paper:

"Building blocks of Andy's Life"

- "Family"

Damn it. Got me again.

No comments: