REVIEW: Crazy Rich Asians

Funnily enough, after the success this film has had, I would not be surprised if the cast and crew of Crazy Rich Asians are now, well, crazy rich Asians…

Avid New Yorker, Rachel Chu, agrees to accompany her long-time boyfriend, Nick, to a family wedding in Singapore only to learn her man belongs to one of the country’s wealthiest families, leaving Rachel in the awkward position to evade the gossip of a jealous society and stand her ground against Nick’s disapproving mother.

I still retain one of the best feelings in the world is watching a film with an audience who all laugh at the same time as you, well-up at the same time as you and leave the cinema feeling immensely jazzed as much as you do. Whilst experiencing Crazy Rich Asians, I could not help but look around and think “damn, we’re all on the same page”. A suave and sophisticated romcom which will leave you with a permanent smile, Crazy Rich Asians is a film we all needed right now.

First off, if you have not seen Crazy Rich Asians, what are you doing? Seriously? Not only is this movie just a highly enjoyable watch, but it is also such an important film for today’s day and age. In a time where people of colour are beginning to really experience a healthy dose of diversity in Hollywood, with hits like Black Panther and Get Out taking the world by storm and giving civilians of African descent a true voice, Crazy Rich Asians has done the same thing, but instead for a new demographic. The Asian population of the world adds up to around four billion which is insane when you really begin to think how many Hollywood movies have been made with an Asian cast or even a central protagonist. With a depressingly poor representation in mainstream cinema, it’s about damn time a Hollywood film has been made which really highlights Asian talent and culture. And here we have a delightful comedy with a pivotal and passionate romance dead centre – and, my gosh, am I happy to say Crazy Rich Asians is the ultimate wish fulfillment flick.

The romance comedy genre is quite usually one that dabbles heavily in wish fulfillment. Crazy Rich Asians not only invites you into a meta wish fulfillment of diversity in cinema, but also the optimum fantasy of living wealthy and indulging in the best of life’s treats with endless parties and deliciously exquisite weddings. Crazy Rich Asians delights in the grand and the expansive, opening up to such gorgeous surroundings with the ample characters and settings adding to the film’s enticing flavours.

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(Lee 2018)

The performances of Constance Wu and Henry Golding both charm. In my opinion, their onscreen relationship did not feel entirely believable when the script insisted they had been together for around a year. I very much loved the two actors on a whole and thought they gave two fabulous performances, but their core bond did not always feel prevalent to me. Still though, I do not want to sound too negative and my faults may lean more on the script than the actors, but the whole affair was still an issue I thought was worth raising.

Alongside the incredible Wu and Golding, Crazy Rich Asians included some grade-A acting talent. Michelle Yeoh, a definitive living and breathing legend, shun in this film and really sold her intimidating and engaging stance as the challenging mother character. Awkwafina also stole the show for me on occasions, appearing downright hilarious in this film. The script knew how to use her well as she would have an ample amount of time off-screen, so that by the time she would eventually appear, her character would be a breath of fresh air, giving some heavily comedic moments to the casual drama.

I would also like to quickly mention Tan Kheung Hua, who portrayed Rachel’s mother. She may not have had a lot do in this film, but in a crucial scene she shared with Rachel towards the end of the film, she honestly had me feeling some strong emotions. Crazy Rich Asians is a lot of things, but making me feel genuine sadness and upliftment in the span of one scene had me in shock. Both the script and the actors have to be amended on some level when appraising this film.

Also, how’s about that wedding scene? DAMN.

The set design and costumes with the makeup and hair-stylings were all so otherworldly and gorgeous to behold. Yes the wedding scene in general was a complete and utter spectacle but every detail of the production leading up to said moment was just so spellbinding. I really could not place into worlds how visually stunning this film got towards the end with all the actors appearing so jaw-droppingly desirable and the world they occupied being so unbelievably dreamy. And it was not just the wealthy parties they attended and the posh houses and resorts they explored, but also just the smaller sequences of characters enjoying street food in the Singapore markets. Sitting around small tables, chowing down on seafood and rice, reminding me of when I went to Singapore… heck that was a good December. Only difference was I ate stingray instead of the basic shiznit they ate in this – yeah, I know I am hardcore.

Although, Crazy Rich Asians is not what you would call ‘a perfect film’. It is definitely a movie that will make many people happy and will resonate with a large crowd of cinemagoers, but despite being a unique and diverse film it is still a rather basic romcom.

There is not much originality in the narrative of Crazy Rich Asians. It follows a cookie cutter structure which is not necessarily a terrible thing, but is at least something that could have been spiced up. The romcom genre is one that has the capacity to be inventive and nuance. I’m not saying the genre needs to be as different and quirky as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind all the time, but it can at least have the balls to change smaller things like (500) Days of Summer or Crazy Stupid Love. Now there is no denying Crazy Rich Asians does things differently by completely diversifying the cast, but if you were to replace the characters and settings with white people in America, this movie would be rather generic. Crazy Rich Asians is undoubtedly fun and uplifting and a step in the right direction for Hollywood, but I hope the film sets in motion a future where mainstream movies can be made with an Asian cast and not heavily hinge on its milestone status and instead be acknowledged for its innovative storytelling and character work instead.

Yet, I can not argue with the feeling I had leaving my cinema screening for Crazy Rich Asians. I was just so stoked! A movie so charming and witty – Crazy Rich Asians had me feeling glorious. Just to be clear, if I wasn’t before, I really liked this movie and have recommended it to everyone I have encountered in my family and friends group since. The movie has its flaws and yeah the cheesiness does occasionally overflow but I cannot deny the enjoyment I got out of this chick flick.

So get your girlfriend or your boyfriend – grab your mum, or even your dad, and watch Crazy Rich Asians. Jon M. Chu may be responsible for the Step Up sequels, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Now You See Me 2 (… yeah, I was shocked as well) but with this foray into the romantic comedy genre everything clicks and a landmark picture is born. This is crazy rich gold!

Crazy Rich Asians is a bloody… CRUSADE!!

 

Image Sources:

  • WORKS ADV 2018, ‘Crazy Rich Asians (2018)’, IMP Awards, TMDb, viewed 1 September 2018, http://www.impawards.com/2018/crazy_rich_asians.html (Featured Image)
  • Lee, J 2018, ‘Crazy Rich Asians sequel in the works, with director John M Chu returning’, Digital Spy, Hearst Magazines UK, viewed 1 September 2018, http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/news/a864561/crazy-rich-asians-2-sequel-in-works-jon-m-chu/

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