Crazy Rich Asians: Movie Review

A ticket for the film Crazy Rich Asians from the Century 16 EastPort Plaza theater. This film features a full Asian-American cast, unique to films released in the last twenty-five-years by Hollywood Studios.
Photo by Christina Liu.

 

 

 

Hollywood Studios released its major breakthrough movie Crazy Rich Asians on August 15. Based on the globally best-selling novel by Kevin Kwan, the American romantic-comedy film surpassed all expectations and rocked the film industry for a variety of reasons, but mainly for its use of an almost entirely Asian cast. Crazy Rich Asians was two hours of incredible cinematography, non-stop laughter, and an overall sense of enjoyment for this masterpiece of a film.

As soon as the movie started, I was automatically drawn in as every bright, crisp graphic crossed the screen. Immediately I forgot that I was sitting in an overcrowded, dark movie theater. Smooth and concise, the flow of every scene was neither too slow nor too fast. The scene is set on a stormy night, and a family can be seen walking towards a nice hotel, drenched and soaked from head to toe. As they enter the building the mother speaks to the concierge and requests to be checked in. The person working at the hotel is a white male, and has an obvious bias against the family as it appears that they are Chinese. A worker at the hotel refuses to let the family check-in and asks them to leave immediately. The decision to have a white man play this role illustrates a modern example of the ignorance displayed towards Asian-Americans. Unaffected by this infuriating racial discrimination, the mother makes a quick call and out from the hotel elevators comes the manager, cheerfully welcoming the mother and her family to come in. The rude worker is now dumbfounded and in shock. This opening scene breaks way for the film’s leading characters: Ms. Sung-Young, the powerful and strong-minded mother of Nick Young, who later becomes known as Singapore’s richest bachelor.

Ms. Young is not the only strong female character represented in the film. Rachel Chu, Henry’s independent and loving girlfriend, demonstrates she is also capable of standing up for herself when adversity arises. Rachel’s role in Crazy Rich Asians was refreshing as it was atypical of what a woman usually looks like in an American romantic comedy. She isn’t a hot mess desperately looking for a dreamy partner or waiting for her Prince Charming to rescue her. Instead Rachel is a successful economics teacher in a healthy relationship with her handsome, affectionate boyfriend Henry Young. Unaware that he is secretly a billionaire, Rachel loves him for who he presents himself to be, and that’s just one of the many reasons I admired her character in particular. There was nothing artificial about her personality. She was proud of her background and how she was raised, even when Henry’s mother tried to make her feel otherwise.

Through the use of an entirely Asian cast, Crazy Rich Asians created a sense of inclusion for a minority that is usually not represented on the big screen. Christina Liu (12), a Chinese-American who saw the movie, went because “this is one of the only movies with an all Asian cast, and I was really happy that my identity was being represented in media,” she states. When asked if she felt like the film accurately represents Asian culture, she agreed that it did. “I grew up in America just like how the main character did, and it really shows how Asian-Americans are not treated ‘Asian’ in Asia and ‘American’ in America. It’s like we don’t belong anywhere.” As far as her favorite character, Liu connected the most with Rachel Chu. “She understands what it is like being Asian-American and going to Asia. People in Asia think that she doesn’t fit in.” Liu goes on to say, “this is similar to my experience. Whenever I go back to Asia my family [always questions] my ideas and beliefs because I grew up in America. They think that I am brainwashed and that I don’t understand my culture. I do love my culture though, and Rachel does too.” Georgia Wong (12) is also an Asian-American who viewed the film. “I wanted to see this movie because it is one of the first big movies to have lead actors as Asian.” When asked what her favorite part was, she replied with the scene involving Astrid, Henry’s kind, sophisticated, and intelligent cousin who is caught in between a toxic relationship with her husband. “I liked when Astrid left her husband and finally stood up for herself. The scene represents the idea that women don’t need a man, and that we don’t have to be ashamed of who we are.” Overall, Wong states that she thoroughly enjoyed the movie and would recommend for others to watch it if they haven’t already.

Crazy Rich Asians proved itself to be an amazing, worthwhile experience. Beautifully cast with strong actors, I would highly recommend this movie to anyone interested in experiencing a truly unique, one of a kind film.

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