The Farewell Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the Blu-ray release of The Farewell, written & directed by Lulu Wang, a drama from Lionsgate Home Entertainment about a Chinese family that learns their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

87

Details:

Studio and Year: Lionsgate – 2019
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English/Mandarin DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin
Written & Directed by: Lulu Wang
Music by: Alex Weston
Region Code: A

Release Date: November 12, 2019

“Based on an Actual Lie”

Synopsis:

“Written & directed by Lulu Wang, The Farewell is about a Chinese family that learns their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.” – Lionsgate Home Entertainment

My Take:

After learning that her family’s beloved matriarch, Nai Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi returns to Changchun to find that her family has decided to keep the news from Nai Nai. While the family gathers under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, Billi rediscovers the country she left as a child, and is forever changed by her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, in this richly moving story of how family can unite and strengthen us — often in spite of ourselves.

Written and directed by Lulu Wang, based on her real-life experiences The Farewell is a heartwarming slice of life drama that speaks to the human condition through the eyes of an Asian family as they confront the impending death of the family matriarch after learning that she has late stage lung cancer. Its’ evident that this is a personal story drawn from a cultural well that aptly portrays the bonds of love shared by family while honoring the traditions that have been upheld for generations. The Farewell doesn’t wear its cultural context on its sleeve but, rather as a counterpoint, to better render its dramatic focus.

I really enjoyed The Farewell. I found its characters and be genuine and perfectly framed within the context of the story. It’s a moving portrait of family and the bonds of love that can transcend dark times. The cast does a terrific job in their portrayal of the family members. I was thoroughly impressed by Nora “Awkwafina” Lum whose character “Billi”, was the primary focal point. She delivered several standout moments that elevated the film’s impact for me.

The Farewell is an engaging familial drama that tells the real-life, and personal story, of a family struggling to come to terms with the impending loss of a beloved one. I watched it with my wife and we both agreed that it was time well spent.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic material, brief language and some smoking.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

The Farewell comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene. The chroma range isn’t broad and hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are warm with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen are detailed and sharp with appreciable depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and excellent shadow detail provides perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a pristine quality that is free of video related artifacts.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices are rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for active surround activity and extended dynamics however there is frequent use of atmospheric sounds that utilize the entire soundstage in support of the exterior/interior venues depicted in the film. The end result is an excellent audio presentation that renders the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb.

Bonus Features:

  • • Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Lulu Wang and Cinematographer Anna Franquesa-Solano
    • “Nothing but the Truth: Confessions of a Writer-Director” Featurette
    • “Going Home: A Conversation with Awkwafina” Featurette
    • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

The Farewell speaks to relevant and transcendent themes and is an engaging portrait of family. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring pleasing high definition video, clear lossless sound and a fair supplemental package that features insights from the cast/crew. The Farewell is highly recommended viewing and deserves a place at the top of your Blu-ray rental queue.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems