Review: Crazy Rich Asians dispels stereotypes

Crazy Rich Asians is the first movie in 25 years to star a predominantly Asian-American cast. (Young Joo Jun/AQ)

Watching Crazy Rich Asians was like taking a breath of fresh air.

Marking itself as the first predominantly Asian film in 25 years to be backed by a major movie studio, Crazy Rich Asians embraces its unique diversity, taking audiences on a fun and heartfelt journey through Singapore.

Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is a Chinese-American woman who falls for the insanely wealthy Nick Young (Henry Golding). After convincing her to go to Singapore for his sister’s wedding, Rachel finally meets Nick’s eccentric family, including his tiger mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh). This conflict between Rachel and Eleanor is easily the highlight of the film due to its cultural roots.

Director Jon M. Chu takes the time to establish that while Rachel looks and speaks Chinese, she’s an American at heart. She grew up in New York, making her values inherently Western. In the film, she tells Eleanor she became an economics professor because she wanted to follow her dreams, causing Eleanor to scoff. As a traditional Chinese woman, Eleanor believes in putting duty and family before personal happiness. While not everyone will agree with some of Eleanor’s Chinese values, the film does a great job in establishing her motive of wanting to protect her son from Rachel’s Western influence.

The Asian influence of the film also lends itself to the beautiful style in which Chu directs, fitting the upbeat atmosphere of the movie with vibrant visuals that keep up the lively and light tone. Adding to these fun visuals is the unique soundtrack with its swing-like and heartfelt music, mainly sung in Chinese. Kina Grannis’s cover of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley is especially enchanting.

As beautiful and fun as Crazy Rich Asians is, the movie isn’t without its faults.

The film suffers from pacing issues, particularly in the first act. There’s also a storyline in the middle of the film that doesn’t quite fit and only adds to this two-hour runtime. Regardless, Crazy Rich Asians continues to make crazy rich money.

As reported by Variety, Crazy Rich Asians has grossed over $100 million in its first 17 days of release. The last romantic comedy to earn over $100 million was in 2015 with Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck which, according to Box Office Mojo, made just over $140 million worldwide in its 13-week theatrical run.

The wild success of Crazy Rich Asians is exhilarating. As a Chinese-Canadian woman, Crazy Rich Asians is the movie I needed as a kid. Seeing myself represented on screen, outside of the traditional Asian stereotypes, is liberating. Growing up in a Western society, this movie finally says that I’m more than just a stereotype. I’m a person with a story to tell, just like anyone else.

As star Constance Wu wrote on Twitter, “[Crazy Rich Asians] is more than a movie, it’s a movement.”

Continuing the best-selling book series by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians will return with China Rich Girlfriend.