I wholeheartedly planned to read the book that corresponds with the film before watching it, but when the chance to review “Crazy Rich Asians” presented itself I jumped at the opportunity. The film is based on the 2013 novel written by Kevin Kwan.
The romcom, directed by Jon M. Chu, features mouthwatering dishes, breathtaking scenery and outrageous parties that all come together seamlessly to depict the unique beauty and rich culture that is Singapore. It was quite refreshing to see that the movie wasn’t completely in English. Hearing the characters speak one of the many languages native to the island nation adds another layer to the story that further emphasizes the differences between two worlds.
It was also nice that they left out some of the common stereotypes associated with Asian characters. You rarely see a main character that is Asian or Asian-American. I appreciated that the main character Rachel Chu wasn’t a doctor but a professor. Chu was also personable and not cold, which was a nice change of pace.
The plot is straightforward and rather easy to follow. When Nick Young, played by Henry Golding, invites his girlfriend of a year back to his childhood home for a seemingly innocent trip to meet his family and attend his best friend’s wedding, she readily agrees. Rachel, played by Constance Wu, drastically misinterprets his nervousness about taking her to Singapore.
She even goes as far as speculating that he might be embarrassed that his family is poor. As the story progresses she slowly begins to discover the magnitude of his long-kept secret. Of course the things he’s hidden eventually haunt him and it hangs in the balance whether they will derail their relationship. Rachel and Nick must overcome not only culture differences but also those between classes in society in order to gain his family’s acceptance of their relationship.
With now two children of the Young family in relationships with “commoners,” Nick’s mother is determined to get rid of Rachel. Upon arriving at Nick’s family’s sprawling estate that is decked out with armed guards and a taxidermy tiger, Rachel quickly learns that the women of the Young family are forces to be reckoned with. But with her boisterous and flamboyant best friend by her side, she makes a place for herself in the unfamiliar world of the rich and she does so without her boyfriend’s help—which showed great strength and resilience and falls in line with the feminist undertones present in media outlets.
All of this paired with vindictive exes, discrimination and blatant disapproval make for quite the story. Common themes throughout the story include double lives, monetary tension and the resounding question of whether or not children forget who they are when they move away from home. Exactly how closely connected are these concepts? Can you truly experience one without the other?
Regardless of its social complexities, this movie is pleasantly predictable. I won’t say this movie is must see but it’s definitely an easy watch.