Cantonese movie 'Adieu' is a touching look at strength in the face of death [Review]

This drama explores the emotional struggles of those living with cancer, and the loved ones who support them through their battles

Nicola Chan |

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Adieu is about the struggles of living with cancer.

This heart-rending Cantonese drama explores the emotional struggles of those living with cancer, and the loved ones who support them through their battles.

The film is divided into three storylines, and is based around three central characters. Five-year-old Yan Yan’s (Lam Ching-man) parents must come to terms with the fact that their child has leukaemia, 20-something bride-to-be Ka-shun (Hedwig Tam), has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, and 80-year-old Auntie Lan (Helena Law) is desperate to reunite with her estranged children before it’s too late.

The film explores the ways in which relationships can be tested, strengthened, or repaired in the face of death.

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The cast, a mix of established actors and relative newcomers, gives an overall decent – though not always convincing – emotional performance. The attempt by director Kenneth Lau Hau-wai to link the three separate narratives together through social worker Yan-kiu (Gladys Li), who works with each family, also seems somewhat forced, as Li’s role is only really integral into one of the storylines.

Still, Adieu is a beautiful film that delicately handles its themes of life, death, love and forgiveness. By the end of its run, each of the characters has managed to achieve, in their own way, happiness.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge