A Double Feature Review!
Wow, what a movie. This film emotionally wrecked me. At this point, The Farewell is the best movie I’ve seen in 2019. Powerful, raw, and cunning. Based on an actual lie, The Farewell follows an aspiring Chinese-American writer named Billi (an incredible Awkwafina). Billi’s family soon discovers their grandmother (who lives in China) has only a short while left to live and they decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a 'wedding' to gather before she dies. Director Lulu Wang's (her directorial debut) film felt like a breath of fresh air. I was so overwhelmed with emotions throughout the film. Wang gave the picture such a gentle touch and shaped it in a way that could be relatable to anyone. Yet, it was also a film dealing with both culture-specific circumstances.
I was blown away at how she managed to pull that off. Awkwafina shines throughout the entire picture. I knew she was good, but this was an incredible performance — Oscar-worthy some would say. I noticed how her shoulders were slumped throughout the picture. I thought this added depth to her character. We see a young woman stuck in life not knowing who she is or where she fits into. Plus, her neutral clothing added to that central struggle. Recently, this has been a film I've been recommending to everyone I've have talked too. I am excited to see more future films by Lulu Wang. The Farewell takes its time until an overwhelming feeling of emotion overtakes you. Wang exquisitely crafts the picture, exposing life’s simplest moments. This is her very American movie. At the heart of this film is family. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and in the end, you’ll be left with a bittersweet feeling that will bubble up inside of you. It receives five-stars from me. Bravo.
The Farewell is rated PG (Parental Guidance). For thematic material, brief language and some smoking.
Directed by Lulu Wang
Starring Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Shuzhen Zhou, Lu Hong, and Yongbo Jiang.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a great film and should be seen by everyone. Poetic and beautifully shot, it tells the story of a young black man living in a changing city and feeling left behind. One of the best films of this year. Directed and produced by Joe Talbot (his directorial debut), while the film is based on actor Jimmie Fails' own life. Our story follows Jimmie (playing himself), who dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont (an Oscar-worthy Jonathan Majors), Jimmie searches for truth in a changing city growing before his very eyes. Mont is an aspiring play-writer, constantly making notes in his notebook for his next play. His biggest play will test Jimmie and his friendship and the very nature of the Victorian home. Actor Jimmie Fails is a knockout, giving us a powerful performance of a man wanting to be relevant. There's something incredibly organic about this picture, every shot and scene has a purpose. Adding to the depth and structure of this film is the cinematography — finding beauty in the American struggle. Through the slow-motion shots and the emotionally invested characters, we see a wonderful portrait of male friendship that is deeply felt. The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a poetic, bold, and worthy of your time. You'll enjoy every minute of it, I guarantee it.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco is rated R (Restricted) For language, brief nudity and drug use.
Directed by Joe Talbot
Starring Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Tichina Arnold, Rob Morgan, Mike Epps, Finn Wittrock, and Danny Glover.
For Your Consideration:
In Their Own League
Mashley at the Movies
Mike, Mike, and Oscar
Next Best Picture
The Movie Oracle
Untitled Cinema Gals Project