Based on the novel by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians hit the box office in August and began setting records and amassing a mild hysteria and massive fan base over the success of the film. It has been nominated for several Golden Globes, SAG awards, Critic’s Choice and People’s Choice awards. Critics and fans alike have bestowed the film with excellent reviews as seen on Rotten Tomatoes with a 91% score and a 74% rating on Metacritic. Overall, the film has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response across the globe.
Crazy Rich Asians follows the story of Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, and her boyfriend Nick Young, played by Henry Golding. Nick plans to take Rachel to meet his family, who live in Singapore. However, he neglects to mention that his family makes the extremely wealthy look like paupers. His family who lives in opulent decadence, which the film portrays stunningly, immediately becomes hostile towards Rachel because of preconceived notions against any woman who might love Nick. Ultimately, Rachel is thrust into the spotlight, the local culture, and Nick’s quirky (to say the least) family where she must contend with jealous socialites, undermining relatives, and Nick’s mother.
While the plot is without a doubt a romantic comedy, it does not follow the rules and gives its audience a fresh take on the overdone film category. Rachel is a career-focused woman who is financially independent. She is entirely unaware of Nick’s wealth and is in no way interested in money. The couple’s attraction is born just as much from intelligence as physical attraction, which is not often seen in movies to date.
The film has been lauded as an example in the film community for cultural inclusion for casting and directing and represents a minority in Hollywood with the sheer number of Asian and Asian American actors being given the lead and supporting roles as well as behind the scenes positions. The film also tackles themes such as feeling like an outsider in the country in which you were born and in the one in which your parents were from. In the film, Rachel chooses to use her roots as a Chinese American as a point of strength rather than a weakness as others see it.
While the film dazzled viewers with costumes and decor, the actors’ performances are what ultimately spurred the award nominations. Each actor makes their characters and their choices seem flawlessly easy while each action and line of dialogue brimmed with purpose. The Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture nominations are wholeheartedly deserved by all nominated.
Crazy Rich Asians does not gloss over the details. The book offers a window into another culture with specificity that allows the reader to imagine they were really present. The film brings the imagination to life with a high level of cultural specificity that lends the film much more power and authenticity. If you haven’t taken the time to watch Crazy Rich Asians, you might want to rethink that decision. You will laugh, cringe, and stare in awe at almost every scene, which makes it impossible to look away or lose focus. Whether you watch films for the acting, directing, plot, or visual experience, this film leaves little room for disappointment.