New York Magazine

Lulu Wang Spots the Lie

The director of the Sundance sensation The Farewell has made the kind of movie Hollywood never makes.

LULU WANG AND I are heading toward Coney Island on the F train one morning in early June, playing Two Truths and a Lie. I go first. I tell her I’m allergic to penicillin, I’m a gold-star gay (meaning I’ve never slept with a woman), and I’m the oldest of three kids. She’s pensive for a second, with sunlight dappled across her face, then shoots from the gut: The last one is the lie because the other two were too specific. (Indeed, I’m an only child and a bad liar.) “Truth is stranger than fiction, so the more mundane thing is easy to lie about,” she says. “I’m very good at spotting when people are inauthentic. I can always feel when someone’s not fully connected. It’s just an energy thing.”

Her second feature, The Farewell, which received rapturous reviews at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and opens theatrically in July, is populated with the lies we tell the people we love. The opening scene is a phone conversation between Billi (Awkwafina) and her grandmother (Zhao Shuzhen), in which they reassure each other with comforting untruths, and the movie begins with the declaration “Based on an actual lie,” which

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