If I could scream the title of this article at anyone who asked me about this film, I would. In the year of POC casted films finally getting the limelight that they’ve always deserved, Crazy Rich Asians perfectly combines comedy, romance, tradition and culture.
I first read Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel almost as soon as it hit the stands. The hilarity of the title alone captured me, not to mention the brilliance and colors of the cover–colors and animation that you actually get to see throughout the film. Crazy Rich Asians is indeed a Rom-Com in the sense of: Boy meets girl, boy and girl date for a year, boy decides it’s time that she meets his folks…but it’s also more than that.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu, Fresh Off The Boat), a Chinese-American college professor that is raised by her single, immigrant mother in New York City. Rachel meets her dashing boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding, A Simple Favor), and after about a year of dating he decides to bring her home to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. However, after all this time, Nick neglects to tell Rachel that his family is well…crazy rich.
Touching on characters first, I was highly pleased with the casting when it was announced but had some concerns. Those of us that have seen Constance Wu on Fresh Off The Boat know that she doesn’t come off as your doe-eyed 20-something. I always think that an actor has done their job well when I can see them as their character while viewing the film rather than themselves. Wu does just this.
The casting of Michelle Yeoh as Nick’s mother, Eleanor Young, threw me a bit. Yeoh has a reputation for playing very solemn characters. In the book, Eleanor is very much a stereotypical, overbearing Asian mother to the point where it’s comical. Yeoh brings a new version of Eleanor to the film and I wasn’t sure how her methods would translate but it certainly did and it did well. The movie was funny enough without making the future matriarch of the family a huge joke.
Speaking of humor, this movie obviously has it and it’s just enough! Hilarious bits about everything but I most enjoyed the familial jokes and stabs at American culture. Honestly, I’ll have to see it twice just based on the fact that the audience roared with laughter so much I missed the last half of at least two jokes.
On a more serious note, the film does address the criticism many Asian-American’s face when talking, dating, or doing anything that isn’t deemed good enough by others that hail from the East. The film also sheds a powerful note on the roles women play. From daughters to mothers to grandmothers, there is no shortage of seeing the vulnerability many Asian women face when marrying into a very traditional (and wealthy) family.
Crazy Rich Asians certainly lives up to its title. Whether you are a newcomer or have read the books, from start to finish, the whole movie was an array of colors and culture and everything they did was, well, CRAZY! Expensive bachelor/bachelorette parties, weddings, and lavish meals just because. While it was over the top, the characters were well aware of it and that’s what made it so fun.