The Farewell (PG)****

Dir: Lulu Wang

With: Awkwafina, Diana Lin, Shuzhen Zhou

Runtime: 100 minutes

FROM its introduction – “This is based on an actual lie”– to the closing credits, Lulu Wang’s family comedy is a delight. Awkwafina plays Billi, left, a young, second generation Chinese American living in New York. Despite living half a world away from her grandmother the two are very close, speaking often on the phone. When she learns her beloved Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhou) has cancer, Billi’s instinct is to rush to Beijing like the rest of the family. But in keeping with Chinese tradition, they have decided that grandma should not be told that she is dying. Can Billi keep up the pretence for the sake of making her grandmother’s last months as cheery as possible? The Farewell is an ensemble effort but special credit goes to Awkwafina, Zhou, and Diane Lin, as Billi’s mother, for a trio of sumptuous performances reflecting the varying ages and experiences of women. Funny, surprising, and poignant in all the right places, The Farewell is the kind of film you will be glad to say hello to.