The Farewell Movie Poster

Trivia for The Farewell

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  • The idea for this story came from an episode from the podcast "This American Life".
  • The first ever PG rated A24 film.
  • In addition to writing and directing, Lulu Wang also plays piano on the film's soundtrack.
  • The joke about the cat dying and "mom is on the roof" told around the dinner table is the same joke told by astronaut Peter Willis to himself as he is climbing up a desert cliff in the 1977 movie Capricorn One (1977). Seconds later, he is ambushed and killed by government helicopters.
  • A July 2019 Eric Kohn article on Indiewire said that when this movie opened in limited release on July 12, it "beat out Avengers: Endgame (2019) for the year's biggest per-theater average."
  • The premise of this movie is based on a true story from Lulu Wang's real life: as the family in the film does, her family really did lie to Wang's grandmother about the grandmother's terminal cancer diagnosis in an attempt to prolong her life. The element of the story in which they use a family wedding as an excuse for everyone to come and visit the grandmother because she is dying was also based in fact. Wang had a great deal of trouble finding financiers to back the filming. American producers objected to the all-Asian cast and insisted that she needed to add prominent white characters. Chinese financiers thought the story was too American, and they also insisted on adding white characters. So in another attempt to draw attention to the project, Wang adapted the story into a segment of the April 22, 2016, episode of the public radio storytelling program "This American Life," which did result in Chris Weitz coming on as a producer and procuring other financing.
  • Little Nai Nai plays herself in the movie.
  • In an interview with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air" on July 24, 2019, Lulu Wang related how she had considerably underestimated the rates she would have to pay Chinese actors, citing how Shuzhen Zhao, who portrays Nai Nai, is a very popular actress in China and how she had to personally plead with her to accept this role.

Spoilers

  • During a July 2019 interview with Terry Gross on the National Public Radio program "Fresh Air," Lulu Wang explained that not only is the lie that forms the basis for this movie's plot a true family story (in that Wang's own family really did lie to Wang's grandmother about her terminal cancer diagnosis), they have also all continued lying to her about both her health and the plot of this movie, since giving her detailed information about the film's story would also give away the initial lie about her untreatable cancer. "My grandmother came to the production start party. And she met all of the actors and clearly saw that they were playing, you know, members of our family. And Shuzhen Zhao, the actress who played my grandmother, actually wanted to meet her. And so she went over there to her house for breakfast. And they spent the morning together. And so, you know, eventually, my grandmother came to know that the film is about our family. But I told her that, you know, it was just this sort of immigration story about this family who left and are coming back for a reunion because of a wedding, which, you know, is only a lie by omission. It's a lie. But, you know, I think that it wasn't that difficult to keep up because even when she visited set, a lot of the scenes that she saw reflected that plot that I told her." Wang also confirmed to Gross that her family assumed that lying about the movie's plot wouldn't pose a problem because the grandmother would likely die before it came out, which did not happen.
  • When Billi, Haiyan and Haibin struggle to get to the hospital, no subtitles are displayed despite the characters speaking Chinese. This was intended to add a sense of confusion to their situation getting lost.
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