With some crazy high expectations, “Crazy Rich Asians” took the world by storm, starring Constance Wu (Rachel Chu), Henry Golding (Nick Young) and Gemma Chan (Astrid Leong-Teo), who provided dynamic performances helping to create this beautifully told romantic comedy. With the first all-Asian cast since “Joy Luck Club” (1993), “Crazy Rich Asians” provides the big screen representation many Asian-Americans have been hoping for, and could possibly act as a catalyst for Hollywood to move towards more diverse casts in movies.
“Crazy Rich Asians” tells the story of Chinese-American NYU professor Rachel Chu who travels with her boyfriend, Nick Young, to Singapore to meet his family who truly are ‘crazy rich.’ The story follows Rachel as she struggles to fit in with Nick’s family and gain their acceptance.
Throughout the movie, there is also focus on Astrid Leong-Teo, Nick’s cousin, and her experience with her husband’s unfaithfulness and fragile masculinity. She’s forced to deal with his jealousy and insecurity over her success, which leads him to another woman. She’s a powerful character and teaches an essential lesson about female individuality; she doesn’t let anyone hold her back.
The chemistry between the actors is jaw-dropping; you can truly see and understand the love between Rachel and Nick, and the tension between Rachel and Nick’s mother, Eleanor Sung-Young (Michelle Yeoh). This relationship beautifully portrays the personalities of both characters: Rachel, ever the optimist, and Eleanor, the strict woman trying to keep hold of her son. The emotional struggle each character goes through is relatable, but it’s never cheesy or overworked.
Along with phenomenal performances from each of the actors, the visual aspects of the movie were breathtaking. Cinematographer Vanja Černjul captures the exquisite and extravagant details of what is common life for the Young family. Each scene was stunning in a different way, whether it was the beautiful lights of a party scene or the elegance of the wedding scene.
“Crazy Rich Asians” brought in a total of around $117 million at the box office, making it the most popular rom-com in a decade, proving how successful having an all-Asian cast can be. Not only does this movie have representation, it showcases many powerful women, and there is an underlying message telling women not to let themselves be held back by men, because they are worth it.
Despite all the good factors about “Crazy Rich Asians,” there is something to be said about how it only shows one view of the Asian culture and experience. The movie never looks past how the 1 percent lives and could have showcased the struggle and lives of the less fortunate in Singapore. However, “Crazy Rich Asians” opened up the possibility of other projects and movies being made on the Asian and Asian-American experience, as it shows how representation matters and clearly, it sells.
Overall, “Crazy Rich Asians” was a beautifully told love story about how people will always fight for who they love and what they believe in. With superb acting, beautiful cinematography and great lessons, this movie definitely lives up to the hype.