'The Farewell' Trailer: Awkwafina Gets Serious In One Of The Year's Best Films

One of the best films from this year's Sundance Film Festival is arriving in theaters this summer. Lulu Wang's The Farewell is an honest, endearing, emotional dramadey featuring Awkwafina proving she can do a lot more than just comedy. The actress delivers a wonderful, and mostly dramatic, performance in this story of a Chinese-American returning to China to be close to her dying grandmother. But there's a twist: the grandmother is unaware of her own diagnosis. Watch The Farewell trailer below.

The Farewell Trailer

The Farewell was one of the first movies I saw at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and I went into the screening knowing almost nothing. I came out realizing I had just seen one of the best movies of the year. This is a sweet, melancholy, and rewarding film – don't sleep on it. Writer-director Lulu Wang creates something remarkable here, and Awkwafina reveals she has an acting range that we were all unaware of. As I wrote in my review:

In 2018, rapper and actress Awkwafina broke out in a big way, delivering memorable turns in Ocean's 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. Those two particular performances were indeed enjoyable and fun, but they also bordered on schtick – the actress was very much playing characters; individuals that felt cooked up primarily in the minds of screenwriters. In Lulu Wang's lovely, melancholy The Farewell, Awkwafina breaks out in a much bigger way with her first major role, creating a wholly realistic character, and revealing a talent for dramatic acting that you may not have realized she possessed. It's an incredible performance.

In The Farewell, Awkwafina plays "Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi", who "reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad."

So much could've gone wrong with this premise, dipping it into an indie movie cliche zone. But Lulu Wang and her incredible cast manage to make The Farewell stand apart. I can't hype this film up enough: make an effort this summer to see The Farewell. You won't regret it.

The Farewell opens July 12, 2019.