LFF Review: Stonewalling

Last year, the United States Supreme Court essentially repealed Roe vs. Wade, overruling the judgement which gave women the substantive right to have an abortion. While it was a terrible day for Americans, access to women’s reproductive rights has been much more firmly controlled in many parts of the world. In China, the authorities are cracking down on non-medically necessary abortions, announcing a number of new measures in 2021. One young woman faces a difficult choice in Stonewalling.

Everything seems to be going right for Lynn (Honggui Yao). The conscientious and hard-working twenty-year-old is studying to become a flight attendant and make a life for herself. When she becomes pregnant, her influencer boyfriend wants her to get rid of it. However, after travelling home to have the abortion, Lynn discovers that the family clinic is in crisis and her mother is in a lot of debt. She must decide what to do.  

Stonewalling is a slow-burning family drama which considers modern China through the eyes of one upwardly mobile young woman. Along the way, directors Huang Ji and Ryûji Otsuka ponder what it’s like to enter adulthood in a post-TikTok world. A country full of tensions between old and new. Honggui Yao gives a brilliantly understated performance and she’s given the space to nuance Lynn’s character. Making Stonewalling an immersive and insightful social treatise.

Stonewalling screens at London Film Festival.

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