An acclaimed fashion magazine, "People" calls The Farewell "a fine film." Shoppers are aplenty, though, and they all want to know more about it. But they have yet to discover why it has garnered the Best Picture award from the National Board of Review. A close examination of the movie reveals the diverse elements of its story, each of which adds meaning to the piece.
The story is a tale of many characters: many differing cultures, many desires, and many goals. The backgrounds, the aspirations, and the interests of the people of different countries are deeply interwoven, and the plot of the movie contains many, many layers. The movie is a fusion of French New Wave and silent film, where they became the medium of expression for their filmmakers. A homage to the pioneers of film, The Farewell features many scenes which look old-fashioned in today's world, yet they depict simple expressions of personality.
Furthermore, the narrative, the directing, and the acting give emphasis to the artistic direction of the movie. The dedication of the actors, the sense of the director, and the script's progression will leave you questioning how much of these elements are achieved with digital technology. Why have the film elements were supplemented by the digital video of some or another, if the source material is a traditional one?
The most important function of the plot is that it serves as a reminder of what, according to the script, is the future of film and its commercial products. It is said that the film industry is leaving behind the "age of celluloid" in favor of the "age of digital." The Farewell tells the story of how this transition came about, how people perceive it, and how it might change, if anything.
At the novel level, the movie is structured with many words and phrases. As a result, it tends to confuse those who read the words. Many passages, for example, are omitted from the original work and converted into subtitles in order to make it easier for the foreign audiences to grasp them.
Other words may sound alike, and they may be confusing to the people who do not know French. The subtitles are meant to present the story in the simplest way possible, yet in the midst of words and phrases which only some of the audience will understand. This is especially important in the case of English words which seem to have no reference to each other.
In addition, the scene is partially set at a hotel and a little at a cafe, which have indirect references to the film industry itself. As a result, when a character enters a cafe, she may only enter to the sound of the music playing in the background of the scene. When she talks, she cannot be heard, as the music is very loud.
The Farewell could have also been better adapted to an audio book or to an audio entertainment system, as it seems to deal with some technical issues related to audio books and their features. It would have been more effective, for example, if the original film had also included an option to hear the dialogue heard in the subtitles, as that would have been more understandable to the audience, who do not understand English. Because of the technical problems with the audio adaptation, the movie cannot achieve a perfect balance between the text and the images, but it certainly succeeds in making an interesting and meaningful film.