Crazy Rich Asians Review
On Wednesday, I got lucky enough to watch the Crazy Rich Asians, based on the book series by Kevin Kwan and directed by the infamous John M. Chu (other credits include Step Up 2: The Streets, G.I Joe: Retaliation, and Now You See Me 2).
If you haven’t already heard, the movie is about Rachel Chu (played by Constance Wu) going to Singapore to meet her boyfriend, Nick’s super rich family in Singapore. Now since the movie doesn’t come officially come out until August 15th, I won’t be sharing any spoilers (if you’ve never read the book or don’t already know what happens at the end) but I will say that it completely worth all of the hype.
The backdrop of Singapore almost becomes its own character in the story because the film shot on location and the Chinese music playing in the background sets the scene once Rachel and Nick land in Singapore. The entire island treats the Young family as if they’re royalty and their wealth is a constant presence throughout the entirety of the movie. But its elegant and beautiful opposed to Peik Lin’s (played by Awkwafina) family, who obviously isn’t as rich as Nick’s family, but it’s portrayed as being completely over the top, and hilariously so.
Nick and Rachel also come to Singapore to attend his best friend, Colin’s wedding. The scenery and decor for the wedding were just stunningly beautiful: expensive but classy. The bride, Araminta’s walk down the aisle and the scene leading up to it was absolutely brilliant. Kina Grannis (singer-songwriter on YouTube) sings a beautiful cover of the infamous song, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” with a dramatic but very effective pause when the bride comes out to walk down the aisle, with Grannis’s voice coming back in a capella style once the bride starts to walk down the aisle. By far the best scene in the movie in my opinion.
This film’s gotten a lot of press ever since it was first announced, not just because the book was a success, but because it’s the first Hollywood movie to feature an all Asian cast in 25 years, which is a huge step towards more diversity in Hollywood. The last time that happened in American film was in 1993 with The Joy Luck Club, which was also based off of a book coincidentally. But even though the cast was entirely made up of Asian actors and the story takes place in a foreign country, the story was still rooted in a concept that everyone can relate to and understand, which was simply just meeting your partner’s parents.
Crazy Rich Asians proves a lot about Asians and Asian actors that haven’t really been explored in Hollywood movies because of the stereotypes that have been set for them in the past. It shows that Asians can be funny without being the butt of the joke or just being in the story just to be the comedic relief, which I’ve seen done in numerous other films (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sixteen Candles, The Hangover movies, just to name a few). Or being a master of karate, kung fu, or any other form of martial arts (any Jackie Chan, Jet Li, or Bruce Li movie). And for anyone that is Asian (like me) who is watching the movie, you end up picking on a few cultural differences that honestly, make the story that much more funny and just all-around entertaining. But most of all, Crazy Rich Asians is living proof that Asian people have stories to tell that are just as compelling and funny as anyone else’s.