Jan 4, 2021
On the podcast this week, Steven and Sean are lying to our dear Nai Nais about their impending death— No, shhh! Don’t tell them about it. They don't know they’re going to die. It’s the 2019 film from Lulu Wang, The Farewell.
Talk about an intriguing dilemma at the heart of this film. Clearly, it’s about a cultural difference, but does that make it any easier to come to a good answer? If you knew that your beloved grandmother was dying, and soon, would you make the decision not to tell her? Is it right to keep information like that from her? It is her life, after all. What right does anyone have to keep news like this from someone else?
But therein lies the rub—depending on where you’re from, keeping that news from someone could make all the sense in the world. Why subject someone you love to grief, pain, and possibly even regret when they don’t have to face those emotions? Would it actually be a kinder act to keep them unaware of their impending death so their final days can be happy?
Hell if I know. We’re from the U.S.A. As Billi says in this film, keeping that sort of information from someone here is surely illegal. In China, though? That’s a whole different thing.
I suppose the best thing you could do, no matter where you live, is to just treasure whatever time you have with the people in your life. That’s the best message to be taken from this film. We never get to have enough time with the ones we love, but we can choose to fill that time with love.
It sucks like hell when we lose those we hold dearest in our hearts. There’s no denying that. We should all strive to be more like Billi: find the strength we need inside us, surround ourselves with those that mean the most to us, and love them with every we’ve got.
(Recorded on November 23, 2020)
Links to Stuff We Mentioned: