Based on the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan, the film “Crazy Rich Asians” broke records in box-offices as audiences gathered to watch an all-Asian cast portray Asia’s elite. The story comes to life on screen as the audience follows Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, on her trip to meet her boyfriend Nick Young’s, played by Henry Golding, family who she later learns is one of the richest families in Singapore. Audience members laugh and cry as they follow the uncomfortable family tension that all families can relate to.
The movie premiered the weekend of August 17, bringing in $25.2 million. Viewers filled seats, not knowing where the movie would take them as it began with a scrapbook-like animation. From the introduction to the teaser at the end, audience members were not disappointed.
“Crazy Rich Asians” jumps in by introducing Rachel, an NYU professor, who was raised by her single mother, and Nick, one of the biggest bachelors from one of the most well-known families in Asia. On their arrival into Singapore, Rachel discovers that Nick is from a wealthy family and they do not approve of Nick’s “average” girlfriend.
The romantic comedy touches upon many stereotypes while it also educates viewers on Asian culture. It remains funny while also dealing with deeper subjects and relationships along the way. It shows the other side of the world what is modern in Singapore, while remaining relevant and relatable to its foreign audiences..
This film presents two worlds becoming one as the protagonist has to realign her American culture to her Asian culture. Rachel, who is an American-born-Asian, or “ABC,” is thrown into a different world when she lands in Singapore and finds herself in the middle of old-money and different traditions. She is told that she is a banana: yellow on the outside and white on the inside. The audience follows her as she tries to transition from her small-family and average-income world into a world where people call their elders “aunties” and wear millions of dollars worth of clothing in million dollar homes.
While on the surface, the storyline seems washed out - boy meets girl, they fall in love, and someone’s mother forbids the relationship - the director Jon M. Chu uses his $30 million budget and creative plot twists to make the movie new and interesting. The scenery, culture and cast are different. Based on the record amount of people who bought tickets to this romantic comedy, different was exactly what people wanted.
Not only did the film break records for tickets sold, it also is the first Hollywood blockbuster film to have an all-Asian cast in 25 years. Furthermore, the cast was not made of Asian stereotypes, but rather were just regular character types that are found in a romantic comedy film. There was no super-smart Asian character, or any karate masters in the way other films have portrayed Asian characters in the past. Although, one scene that gives into Asian stereotypes by ringing a large gong, Rachel questions why Nick’s aunty owns it in the first place.
Rather than paint a cast of stereotypes, Chu instead created the typical characters while also bringing in aspects of Asian culture. There was an evil mother, a loud cousin, a traditional grandparent, and a few supportive cousins - all the character types that would be found in any other movie about a family. Chu took people who are typically considered “others” in western film and culture and presented them as relatable people that all viewers know in their own lives. He did not just make another movie full of stereotypes and call it diverse, but really tried to show diverse people simply being people.
Audience members clapped and wiped their tears as the lights came back on at the close of the movie. After watching Rachel trying to succeed in proving herself to all of Nick’s family and friends, there is a bit of a teaser for a sequel. After weeks of speculating, the Warner Bro. team told The Hollywood Reporter that they do plan to move forward with the rest of Kwan’s trilogy. The second movie, China Rich Girlfriend, follows one of Nick’s cousins while also giving updates into Nick and Rachel’s life.