The best stories are universal. Regardless of the time it is set in, the place it is set in or the culture that it is set in, these stories are timeless and speak to all of us.
Writer/director Lulu Wang’s new semi-autobiographical film, The Farewell, is set in China and New York City. Billi (Awkwafina) was born in China and raised in New York City. When her beloved grandmother, known as Nai Nai, is diagnosed with cancer with only months to live, the family decides to keep it from her. Under the pretense of a fake wedding, the family comes together in China.
But Billi is troubled by the lie. She must decide if she will be the one to spill the beans or go along with the scheme.
This movie is one of the best films of 2019. Up to this point, Awkwafina has built her career on comedic roles in films such as Ocean’s Eight and Crazy Rich Asians. In this film, she plays a young woman who is dealing with an emotionally tough decision. The humor comes from the narrative, not from broad jokes or an outrageous character. In playing this toned down character, Awkwafina proves that her acting abilities go way beyond comedy.
The thing that stood out to me about TheFarewell is that anyone can relate to these characters and their story. At some point, our parents and grandparents reach that point in their lives when their health is not what it was. It is then up to the younger generations to make decisions, which are frequently never easy and rife with challenges.
2018 has been an interesting year for movies. Below is my list of the top ten movies of 2018
Widows: Women in action movies are at best the romantic significant other and at worst, the damsel in distress. Widows flips the genre and the expected narrative on its head and tells the story of four women who take fate into their own hands after the deaths of their criminal husbands.
The Wife: Based on a book by Meg Wolitzer, Glenn Close plays a woman who questions her life choices as her husband reaches the peak of his career.
The Favourite: Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) may sit on the throne of England, but she is not the one who is really leading country. Two women in her court vie to be her favorite and to gain power that only comes from being close to Queen.
A Star Is Born: A Star Is Born is the 3rd reboot of a narrative that audiences have seen since the 1930’s. Unknown Ally (Lady Gaga) sees her career dreams turn into reality while her mentor/lover’s career flails due to addiction issues.
Crazy Rich Asians: Based on a book by Kevin Kwan, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) travels from New York City to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time. The visit is a bit more turbulent than Rachel expects.
Aquaman: Based on the comic book of the same name, Jason Mamoa plays Arthur Reed, a man who is born of two worlds and must choose where he belongs.
This will be my last post of 2018. Thank you so much for visiting and reading my blog, your support means the world. Wherever you are this New Years Eve, have a safe and happy one. I will see you in 2019.
It’s no secret that there is a lack of representation of minorities in Hollywood.
The success of Crazy Rich Asians over the past couple of weekends has proved that audiences of all backgrounds love a good story, regardless of the ethnicity of the characters. But, with the success, comes controversy.
I am not Asian or Asian American, but I understand where those who are criticizing the film are coming from.
It’s as if saying that Fiddler on the Roof does not represent the full Jewish experience. For those who are unaware, Fiddler On The Roof is the story of Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman and his family living in Russia in the early 20th century. Life is changing for Tevye and those in his immediate circle. He has five daughters, three of whom are of an age to marry. Each daughter, when it comes time to marry, moves farther and farther away from what is expected of her.
Fiddler is one of the handful of films that over the last few decades that represents Jews in a manner that is positive. None of the characters are token characters or strictly based on stereotypes. While it is certainly one of the most iconic Jewish films, it does not represent all Jews. Jews come from all over the world and are as varied as any group of people.
When it comes down to it, it’s about representation and fair representation. Crazy Rich Asians may not be perfect and may not represent the Asian ethnicity as a whole, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction that is a long time coming.
One of the most common tropes of the romantic comedy genre is the objection to one half of the lead couple by their well-meaning family and/or friends. The question is, is this common narrative used wisely or is it an easy way out by the writer or writers?
In the new movie Crazy Rich Asians (based upon the book of the same name by Kevin Kwan), Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is a Chinese American college professor living and working in New York City. She has been dating Nick Young (Henry Golding) for a year when he invites her to join him at a family wedding in Singapore. Nick hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Rachel about who his family is in the social hierarchy of Singaporean society. When they get to Singapore, Nick’s mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) isn’t exactly pleased with her son’s choice of a partner.
But Rachel is not without allies. Her college roommate, Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina) is from Singapore and has been begging Rachel to come visit for while. Rachel also becomes close friends with Nick’s cousin, Astrid Young Teo (Gemma Chan), whose life is not as perfect as it seems. Will Rachel and Nick live out their happily ever after or will his family get in the way?
While Crazy Rich Asians falls squarely within the romantic comedy genre (with the standard character tropes and narrative), it is not the same old, dry predictable romantic comedy. Aside from a cast of Asian and Asian-American actors (which is a long time coming), the movie is funny, charming, romantic and heaves much needed life into a genre that for many died a long time ago.
This hobby blog is dedicated to movie nerdom, nostalgia, and the occasional escape. In the late 90s, I worked at Blockbuster Video where they let me take home two free movies a day. I caught up on the classics and wrote movie reviews for Denver 'burbs newspapers and magazines. Today, I continue to revisit the old and discover the new on the screen. Comments and dialogue are highly encouraged. This year, I'm excited to collaborate with other writers via SLICETHELIFE in which we will share our movie genre favorites in our 2021 Movie Draft!