Crazy Rich Asians - 2018
Director(s): Jon M. Chu
Writer(s): Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim (screenplay) / Kevin Kwan (novel)
Cinematography by: Vanja Cernjul
Editor(s): Myron I. Kerstein
Cast: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Lisa Lu, Jimmy O. Yang and Nico Santos
This year we have seen a major push for representation in the stories presented to us up on the silver screen. While it’s something that I’m on board with, I find it interesting that the vehicle chosen was the genre many thought to be dead: rom-coms. Love, Simon and now with Crazy Rich Asians, we have seen the perfect Venn Diagram where the tropes and story beats of a rom-com and the hunger for representation overlap. It’s easy to identify with someone trying to find love.
The story centers around the relationship of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) and Nick Young (Henry Golding). They have been dating for a year and she has never met and has no clue who his family is. Nick invites her to a wedding back home in Singapore and it turns out that he is part of the richest family in the entire country. This leads to her feeling unwelcomed since she comes from a poor family and grew up in the States. It’s the classic and proven tale of the clashes of social standings where a social elite is head over heels for a “commoner” and his family and friends disapprove, only for love to conquer any prejudice in the end. It’s also tackles the classic “monster in-law” scenario where the mother of the boyfriend hates the new girl and she must prove herself worthy of her son. We have seen it countless times and always enjoyed them. This time they are employed, effectively, to smooth out any trepidation the mainstream audiences may have with an all Asian cast.
Quick note: DO NOT come into this movie hungry. This is borderline food porn. The beautiful shots of the night markets, the party food, the traditional dumplings and the comfort foods given to the lead is mouthwatering.
Director Jon M. Chu gave this movie a touch of flare I wasn’t expecting. He utilized editing and graphics to highlight how fast the rumors travel around Nick’s world. The editing also helps highlight the whirlwind Rachel is going through as she is dropped in a world of wealth and extravagance she has never experience before. One of the things that I enjoyed about the movie is that despite it going at a rapid pace during the comedic moments, when they tackled the dramatic side they let it breath for a bit, slowing down for the audience to live in it and feel the weight of the emotions during certain key scenes. He also got wonderful performances from his leads and supporting cast, balancing the screen-time perfectly. Awkwafina is now 2 for 2 in my book in being the highlight of the movie she is in.
Quick note: I find it funny that writer Peter Chiarelli also wrote 2009’s The Proposal, a movie where the guy is also secretly wealthy and important. His parents are waiting for him to come back and take over the family business. They disapprove of the woman he brings back and by the end they come around.
Crazy Rich Asians is a rom-com through and through, and fans of this genre will see everything coming from a mile away. The predictability is overcome by the warm inviting nature of the leads and the delightful banter throughout the runtime. This movie is funny, welcoming and heartwarming as we want them to overcome every obstacle in their way. It also illustrates a prejudice I wasn’t privy to, and that’s how Asians born and raised in their country look down on Asians born and raised in the States. Feeling like an outsider in both countries has to be extremely disheartening for any human being. If you are a lover of the rom-com genre, this movie is a welcome addition to the pantheon. The night markets scene is why I love movies.
Crazy Rich Asians is currently in theaters. Go watch it.
If you like this review let me know in the comment section down below. Subscribe to my newsletter so you are always up to date with all my reviews. Also, follow me over at Twitter (@yILovemovies) or over on Facebook if you want to have a conversation about movies.