Crazy Rich Asians promises love, scandal, and over the top opulence, and it absolutely delivers
As a romantic comedy, Crazy Rich Asians is entertaining and relatable and as one of the first Asian American led films released by a major Hollywood studio since 1993’s Joy Luck Club – it is a landmark event. Despite the audience being of different backgrounds in the theater, everyone oohed and aahed at the expensive luxury, gasped at the snarky one liners, and fell in love with leading actors Constance Wu and Henry Golding.
Growing up in Asian America, there is little to no representation in Hollywood. Parts awarded to Asian American actors often pigeon-holed them into minor roles rife with stereotypes. The singular shallow image produced was how White America saw Asian Americans, despite the fact that there are dozens of rich and unique cultures within the umbrella term Asian American.
Crazy Rich Asians portrays their characters as fully thought out and 3-dimensional with their own wants and desires, challenges and obstacles. And they did it right. Whether it was clumsily learning to fold dumplings with your family or the groups of endlessly gossiping aunties, director Jon Chu showcases various aspects of both Asian and Asian American culture.
The scenes of Singapore are also incredibly authentic – there is no Western gaze, no faraway exoticism, nor ‘uncivilized’ citizens. With the cuts of the madness and vibrancy of hawker centers, the high-tech Supertree Grove at Gardens of the Bay, and generous scenes of Singaporean’s beloved Merlion, the film nails it in showing a beautiful picture of the amazing country.
There have been critiques about how Crazy Rich Asians is not truly representative of all of Singapore and fails to acknowledge the racial and socio-economic disparities between the Chinese majority and Malay and Indian minorities. This is true, as the story only focuses on the ultra-wealthy Chinese families of Singapore. But to its credit, Crazy Rich Asians also explores the differences between being Asian and Asian American – something that Western media has almost always lumped together.
“It will help pave the way for more Asian American led stories”
Showing that the Asian American experience is inherently different than the Asian one breathes life into the overall discourse of diaspora and identity. Despite the lack of representation of South Asians, Crazy Rich Asians is still a milestone for Asian Americans in cinema. Ideally, it will help pave the way for more Asian American led stories that feature Asian Americans from all backgrounds. So, grab your tickets and get ready to support not just this film, but the movement for more minority representation.