I’ll start by explaining what this film is about without any spoilers because this film is just too precious. The Farewell was directed by Lulu Wang and follows Billi a young woman who learns that her grandmother is sick and has a very short time left to live. To her surprise, the family decides not to tell her grandmother that she is dying. Instead, they arrange a wedding as an excuse for everyone to go back to China and see her one last time before she passes, almost like saying goodbye without being able to say it!
The film is able to approach the subject from both the western and eastern mindsets without diminishing neither of them, which for me was one of the greatest qualities of the story. The Farewell is packed with complex characters who feel like real people, who have real conversations about topics that really matter. The film maneges to be funny between the sad moments giving it the levity that it needs, not the mention the amazing way in which the family bonds are portrayed.
I cried about 5 times during the entire film and one extra time once it ended. I’ll list the scenes that made me cry the most:
- When Billi speaks about how hard it was for her to leave China, the impact it had on her to not be able to be around her grandma as much and how painful it was to never be able to see her grandpa again given that her parents never really explained his death to her.
- I cried during the wedding part when Billi’s cousin starts to cry and we realize the all “thing” is really taking a toll on him too, even if for him the situation is sposed to be normal.
- The one that made me cry the most was when “Nai Nai” is talking to Billi and tells her that when the time comes for her (Billi’s) wedding she will give an even bigger party just because it was for Billi.
I can not end this without mentioning the shot of Billi running as fast as she can in order to get her “Nai Nai” medical results in order to get them before her, I truly loved it and the music for that shot was incredibly used (and in the entire film, overall).
(END OF SPOILERS)
Exactly as I wrote in my notebook after watching The Farewell: “I’m in love with this film, the soundtrack is 100% amazing and exactly what it had to be elevating the film to a whole other level. THANK YOU LULU WANG! This is excellent.”
I gave this film 9 out of 10!
Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!
Frances Ha by Noah Baumbach is a modern coming of age tale as well as a story about friendship. Frances (Greta Gerwig) is a 27-year-old dancer living with her best friend Sophie. Baumbach is a unique filmmaker, his movies tackle literally every subject matter while capturing real day-to-day life. In this film, he goes back to the basics of filmmaking: there are no complicated technics, no colourfull shots and yet he manages to guide us through Frances complex life.
Frances’ life is as depressing and comedic as it is relatable, as far as the other characters go no one is overly dramatic. This shows us realism can be both depressing and unbelievably funny. As I see it, the film is centred in a friendship where one person wants to grow up and move on while the other is desperately holding onto the past in every way possible.
The director makes a homage to french new wave cinema and we can witness that in the scene where Frances running and twirling across streets of New York with David Bowie’s “Modern Love” on the soundtrack.
The script is so masterfully written by both Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, not to mention so brilliantly performed. This film is a masterpiece and I can’t recommend it enough.
I gave this film 8 out of 10.
Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!
“It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it, but it’s a party and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual but because that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.”
“Perhaps my fifth-grade self is trying to tell me a new way to fly.”
Only Yesterday by Isao Takahata is an animation about Taeko Okajima, a young woman in the 80’s trying to get a sense of both herself and the world surrounding her. The film is set during two timelines, the primary one occurring in 1982 when the main character is 27 years old and working in an office in Tokyo.
Taeko is the youngest person in her household, that includes a lifeless father, a very concerned mother, a strangely distant grandmother and two older sisters. Our main character has all kinds of memories of her fifth-grade self, struggles with young love, dealing with puberty, an early love for theatre and other frustrations and joys of being a kid in the late 1960s. But the one memories that struck me the most was one of the family trying their first pineapple and figuring out how to eat it. This shows the film is capable of finding beauty and charm in ordinary experiences.
The characters in Only Yesterday manage to have individuality and autonomy while being part of a whole, which is remarkable. The film is subtle and cleverly structured and the ever-increasing interaction with the surroundings cames of as a form of love for nature.
There is really nothing left for me to say, just go watch it. PLEASE
I gave this film 8.5 out of 10.
Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!