Sat, Sep 16, 2023    
7:00 pm-10:00 pm


Rondout Valley United Methodist Church
25 Schoonmaker Ln, Stone Ridge, New York

Event Type

This warm and honest comedy drama, based on a true story about life, death, lies and love, opens Movies With Spirit’s 18th annual season.

Stewart’s Shops is donating free ice cream for all attendees. So bring your sweet tooth as well as your sweetheart!

“Extraordinary on every level,” critic Peter Travers writes about the film in Rolling Stone.

“Incredibly charming,” Nick De Semlyen writes in Empire Magazine.

“Life-affirming,” James Berardinelli writes in ReelViews.

“Breaks your heart, and leaves you happy,” Moira MacDonald writes in The Seattle Times.

In the film, aspiring Chinese American writer Billi (Awkwafina) returns to her childhood city of Changchun, in northeast China, to be part of a family reunion with her beloved grandmother, who’s the family’s matriarch, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao). “Nai Nai,” Mandarin for “grandma,” has terminal lung cancer and is given only weeks to live.

But before traveling, Billi learns the diagnosis has been kept from Nai Nai, who was told the results were benign. Everyone in the family has agreed not to tell Nai Nai the truth to ensure her happiness, Billi learns.

The reunion’s pretense is a joyful, expedited wedding.

As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she also finds a lot to celebrate, including her rediscovery of the country she left as a child, her grandmother’s wondrous spirit, and the ties that keep on binding, even when so much goes unspoken.

The 2019 film runs 1 hour 40 minutes and is rated PG.

Its 35 critic and festival honors include awards of excellence at the Santa Barbara (Calif.) International Film Festival, Hollywood Critics Association, American Film Institute, Golden Globe Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards, which named the film Best Feature. The film also earned a Humanitas Prize for exploring the human condition in a nuanced and meaningful way.

“‘The Farewell’ is about reconciliation with the past and wrestling with cultural traditions that now seem foreign in a country that once was home,” critic Esther Zuckerman writes in Thrillist.

“Taps into universal truths about the passage of time, the inevitability of loss, and how we prepare one another for it,” Pat Brown writes in Slant Magazine.

The film’s trailer can be found on YouTube at

The screening will be followed by a facilitated discussion. Refreshments, including Stewart’s ice cream, will be served.

Attendees over age 12 are asked to contribute $10 a person.

Movies With Spirit screenings comply with all federal, state and local health and safety protocols, including those of the screening venues.

The monthly Movies With Spirit series, organized by Gerry Harrington of Kingston, seeks to stimulate people’s sense of joy and wonder, inspire love and compassion, evoke a deepened understanding of people’s integral connection with others and with life itself, and support individual cultures, faith paths and beliefs while simultaneously transcending them.

The films are screened in diverse places of worship and reverence across Ulster and Dutchess counties at 7 p.m., generally on the third Saturday of every month. Movies With Spirit has no religious affiliation.

For more information about “The Farewell” and the rest of the series, call Harrington at 845-389-9201 or write to him at