Movie Review: Crazy Rich Asians

The feel good movie of the summer.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Director: Jon M. Chu

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, and Nico Santos

Wrapping up a summer of top notch blockbusters comes a stunning and monumental film that is working to resurge the romcom genre. Crazy Rich Asians follows Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an economics professor at NYU, as she travels to Singapore for a wedding and to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time. Although, her boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), forgot to mention one very important fact about his family: they are one of Asia’s wealthiest families. Nick is also the most eligible bachelor and heir to the Young family fortune. This omission of facts turns Rachel’s trip to Singapore into a rollercoaster as she has to suddenly deal with rival women vying for her boyfriend’s hand in marriage, and disapproving attitudes from his traditionalist mother and grandmother.

The movie is adapted from Kevin Kwan’s best selling novel by the same name and follows the events of the novel pretty close. A few of the biggest differences between the novel and the movie though include the amount of time Rachel spends in Singapore and the wealth and prestige of the Young family. In the book, Nick invites Rachel to spend the summer in Singapore whereas in the movie they merely go for spring break as that is much more manageable for a movie plot. Additionally, in the book, the Young family are of such class and elegance that none of the new money families have even heard of them. In the movie though, the entire world practically knows who the Youngs are, and they are all invested in their business.

Crazy Rich Asians comes into the world of Hollywood at a fantastic time and brings with it groundbreaking diversity. The film features a mostly Asian cast, an Asian director, and a female producer. This is the first film to feature a mostly Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club in 1993. It is important that this film stuck to its values and cast a mostly Asian cast so that it serves as an example to other filmmakers and films in the industry as well as provides new role models and reawakens Asian pride. Magnet Senior, Hannah O, said that she enjoyed this movie because it cast more Asians in leading roles and finally gives the world the Asian representation that was needed. She also believes that some of the movie and characters were a bit unrealistic, but ultimately appreciated seeing diversity celebrated on the big screen.

I really appreciated seeing more Asians in leading roles in movies. It is important to showcase diversity on screen.

— Hannah O (12th)

One unique aspect of this movie that stuck with me was the use of animation and the soundtrack consisting of almost all Mandarin covers of pop songs. At the beginning of the film, bright, colored animation is used to throw the viewer right into the lavish lifestyle that this movie will be depicting. This film’s use of animation adds a unique element to the film and continues the fun flair seen throughout. Similarly, the film’s soundtrack contributes to the authenticity and feel good aesthetic found throughout. A Mandarin cover of “Yellow” by Coldplay and “Material Girl” by Madonna are things that you never knew you needed, but I promise if you go listen to them, you’ll fall in love.

Additionally, the setting  was a big winner in this film for me. To create a movie of such grandeur, it is inevitable that it will include filming locations such as Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Penang, Malaysia, and Singapore. The scenes in the Young family estate were filmed in an abandoned mansion originally built in the early 1900s for the British High Commissioner to Malaya. The production designers on this film went all out to craft this imaginary paradise on Earth to immerse the audience into this life of luxury.

Crazy Rich Asians is a delightful movie that paints the picture of a rich and extravagant lifestyle of Singaporeans and pays homage to the ideal of staying true to yourself. It showcases the universal challenge of trying to fit in but also staying true to yourself. Ultimately, this film is a story about finding true love and acceptance within yourself in addition to within another person and the implications that go along with that.

Check out this movie when you’re in need of a good laugh, cry, or smile and overall feel good movie. And look out for the sequel, China Rich Girlfriend, in the not so distant future, as director Jon M. Chu has already moved forward with the project!