Most secrets, we keep without a second of consideration. Instinctively, we slide away from the full truth, allowing for the slightest vagary to creep into our words. Secrets are a shield, but who are we protecting? The Farewell asks this question of Billi (Awkwafina) and her family as they confront the looming death of their matriarch, Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen). Nai Nai only has a few weeks to live and she is the only one who doesn’t know it. Billi’s parents, at least, think it is for the best, allowing Nai Nai to enjoy her last days without having to worry about the world she will soon be leaving behind. Secrets are a shield and The Farewell begins to ask what protection means to those of different cultural backgrounds even as they are part of the same family. The Farewell is a comedy-drama, currently showing at the State Theatre. Tickets can be bought online or at the box office ($8.50 with a student ID). Some showings feature Mandarin subtitles.