Originally published on February 15, 2019 in The Holcad Student Newspaper.
This weekend, February 15-17, “Crazy Rich Asians” will play as the CPC Movie in Mueller Theater. Released in August 2018, “Crazy Rich Asians” is a contemporary romantic comedy which follows Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she meets the family of Nick Young (Henry Golding) in Singapore for the first time. It’s not an easy first encounter, and Rachel soon finds herself confronted with a lot of craziness and obstacles.
The movie is based off Kevin Kwan’s trilogy “Crazy Rich Asians,” in which he drew upon his own family history in conjunction with his upbringing in Singapore to create the vivid characters and landscapes of the story. In an interview with Refinery 29, Kwan stated that he knows all his characters—or the people who inspired them—very intimately, but assured his interviewer Elena Nicolaou that he changed enough details so that no one is entirely recognizable.
“Crazy Rich Asians” has garnered quite a bit of critical acclaim. People around the world love this movie. On IMDb it received 7/10 stars, and on Rotten Tomatoes it received a 91%. To put that in perspective, another beloved movie of 2018, “Black Panther,” received similar scores. David Sims, a writer at The Atlantic, lauds the movie as a “breath of fresh air.” A.O. Scott, one of the New York Times’ resident film critics, wrote in his review of the movie that “every romantic comedy depends on obstacles to the central couple’s ultimate happiness. ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ sets up a series of clashes—between tradition and individualism, between the heart’s desire and familial duty, between insane wealth and prudent upward mobility—that are resolved with more laughter than tears.”
The binaries found in the movie are innately human, for the most part. The majority of us will someday have to meet our significant other’s family, and there is a very real possibility that we will clash with them. Today’s world focuses less on the socio-economic status of a potential partner and focuses more on if you love the person. As those class divides continue to close, movies like “Crazy Rich Asians” that portray the conflicts of class divides become more and more important to us as a society.
Over at the Wall Street Journal, film critic Joe Morgenstern wrote that “Crazy Rich Asians” is “the first major studio film [in almost a quarter of a century] in which an Asian filmmaker has told an Asian-American story with Asians in all of the leading roles.” This reminds me of how Sandra Oh won a Golden Globe just over a month ago, making her the first Asian woman to do so in almost 40 years. As these diverse accomplishments continue to happen, I can’t help but wonder if Hollywood is finally taking strides towards the future we all want.
With all that being said, “Crazy Rich Asians” is fantastic film that I think everyone should see. It’s funny, the characters are interesting, and who wouldn’t want to see all the glamour of Singapore on-screen? There are a lot of contemporary themes within the movie that add to the overall enjoyment, but, ultimately, I think there is something in this movie for everyone. It’s not every day that Hollywood puts out a movie like this. To put the cherry on top, you can see “Crazy Rich Asians” for free this weekend at Mueller Theater. What could be better than that?