Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy-drama film directed by Jon M. Chu that was written by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim. It is based on Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel of the same name and stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Nico Santos, Lisa Lu, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh.
The Story/The Direction:
The film follows Rachel (Wu), a Chinese-American Economics professor at NYU, who travels to meet her boyfriend, Nick (Golding),'s family in Singapore. She is surprised to discover how rich they are. Everyone in Singapore knows Nick's family and this is new to Rachel. She has to learn who Nick really is and make herself seem worthwhile to the family. This film is a fairly simple love story that follows a lot of romantic comedy tropes but that's not a bad thing. This film works in a way to show a culture that normally is looked at as being mathematically or martial arts inclined as normal people. They do everything that people of other cultures do and look as good as them.
Chu chooses to use these tropes to this film's advantage because its a culture that has not been shown before in these ways. He has slow shots of the male characters showing off their six packs but not so much to make them only there for eye candy. They are there to support the women in the film and their stories. This film also touches on the importance of family and also the concept of Asian Americans or mixed Asians are viewed by Asians. This is a constant struggle that makes those affected feel that they are an outsider in the country they live in and the country that their family hails from. There are very few films that look at this concept of a "banana" as the film calls it or "twinkie" (yellow on the outside and white on the inside). This all boils down to the excellent writing of the film and it has a lot of great one-liners that keep the film extremely entertaining. The film also has some great music that is mostly done by Asian artists and even though there is a lot of extravagance in the film, it is fairly relatable due to its characters.
Rachel while a fairly successful woman represents the general population as most people are not at the level of Nick's family. She's mostly happy with her life and is not a struggling character that "can only be saved by a good man." She also has not seen anyone quite as well off as Nick's family which a lot of viewers can obviously relate to. She comes from a single parent who immigrated to the United States and because she does not have the same story as Nick's mother (Yeoh), Eleanor, she is looked down upon. She is from a completely different class level and also is "from America" which makes her even less of a person. Rachel and Eleanor have this power struggle for Nick's love both of whom he loves. Both Wu and Yeoh's performances are great and capture the characters perfectly in the primary story. The secondary story of Nick's cousin Astrid (Chan) is just as powerful and touching. However, the scene stealer is Awkwafina as Peik Lin. She is absolutely hilarious and establishes herself as a comic staple in films. What brings this film further is its depiction of powerful women no matter their story. Eleanor faced anti-Asian discrimination when Nick was a child, Rachel uses her intelligence, and Astrid uses her financial standing. The chemistry between all of these characters feels authentic as does the relationship between Rachel and Nick, which is the cornerstone of a good romance.
While the film does break a lot of stereotypes of Asians, it, unfortunately, furthers one as well. This film is called "Crazy Rich Asians," however it only focuses on the Eastern ones. While this flaw is drawn from the title of the book which is supposedly based on the writer's own story, the title can further the idea that all Asians will be East Asians to non-Asian people. This is obviously not the case as there are many different cultures within the continent of Asia that does not look or behave the same. This film also has one too many dramatic points that really push the film towards becoming a soap opera.
Both of these flaws are fairly preferential and do not take away from the film's overall significance. It has great characters, great chemistry, fantastic dialogue and message, and an overall powerful and touching story both on a primary and secondary level. The typical romantic comedy tropes are done in new yet familiar ways that will have any fan of that genre happy as they leave the theatre. This great film is definitely worth checking out and buying on Blu-ray.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 bowties
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