Crazy Rich Asians manages to be, what I would call, the perfect romantic-comedy. During my viewing, the theater was both roaring with laughter and sniffling their tears away. Following Rachael Chu, an American-Chinese NYU professor, as she navigates her romantic relationship with one of Singapore’s Elite, Nick Young. The film deals with real-world issue of class-ism , while boasting a revised feminist idea of the classic trope of ‘rich-boy falls in love with poor-girl.’
What I kind of really loved about the film was different types of Asian representation and defeats Old Hollywood stereotypes of broken English and poor labor workers. Crazy Rich Asians showcases exactly what the title entails. Asians that are so crazy rich, they can purchase million dollar earrings without a second thought and have houses dripping in gold. Not to mention having professions other than doctors or computer technicians. As a young Asian girl, it was so refreshing to see such a positive representation.
If to be compared to another film, I would probably say Crazy Rich Asians is pretty much an Asian version of Girls Trip. Both films are amazing in their own way, as they’re meant for different demographics, but like Black Panther was this groundbreaking point for Black representation. I feel as though we are reaching a new age of Asian representation and not just fetishization.
The film also fights against the stereotypes of the “perfect Asian.” With the Young family in a place of such high status, they are treated like royalty and must maintain perfection. So when Rachel, a rough-edged American with no status, is assumed to be married into the family Nick’s mother and other relatives attempt to rid of her. Even the perfect woman, Nick’s cousin Astrid, faced the same shame when she married a military man rather than a tycoon. Behind the curtain is certainly not perfection.
I had seen dislike of the subplot following Astrid and her personal life, but I believe stories such as Astrid’s are important for Asian representation and just female representation in itself. To show that it’s okay not be what everyone wants you to be 27/7. Astrid is what appears to be the perfect woman, with perfect style and all the name brand tags, but not everything is what it seems.
Which seems to be an overall theme of the film: not everything is what it seems. Nick’s family and friends overlook Rachel because of her American upbringing and pursuit of passion and happiness rather than status. Yet, in her eyes she is living a powerful life that makes both her and Nick happy. Coming back to the trope of ‘ rich-boy falls in love with poor-girl,’ Nich being the rich boy and Rachel being the poor girl. In majority of stories, Nick has all the power in the situation, in whether to choose love with Rachel or his family. Yet in this dynamic, Rachel holds the power in her own decision, turning the old trope on its head.
And the comedy? Great. Awkwafina is an up-and-coming star. I swear she will rival Amy Shumer and Melissa McCarthy at the box office one day. She’s got this crazy type of comedy that doesn’t come off as trying to hard, but natural, almost like one of your crazy friends. She’s like Tiffany Haddish, but Asian. But the comedy doesn’t just come from her, which I love. Sometimes with rom-coms, there’s really one sole comedic relief. Comedy comes from all aspects of the film and nearly all of the stars of the film. Rachel, played by Fresh of the Boat star Constance Wu, definitely knows how to deliver comedy, while still producing a fantastic and well-rounded performance. She is a force to be reckoned with. And of course we can’t forget about Dr. Ken Jeoung (yes, he is an actual doctor) who has been an Asian all-star since the Hangover.
Watching this film really made me wish that there were so much more film and tv centered around Asian cultures. I really enjoyed that the marketing of the film really played into the culture, incorporating it into the posters and promos. It made me so happy to watch and support something like Crazy Rich Asians and it doesn’t hurt that it is an actually good movie. It might even become one of my go-to rom-coms in my collection. Please go watch and support this film.