“Crazy Rich Asians” premiered this past August and with a mass of buzz and praise. It was one of the highest grossing films of the year, earning a whopping $139 million dollars since its release. The excitement around the film has indicated fans are looking toward the development of a sequel soon.
The film is based on the first book in Kevin Kwan’s “Crazy Rich Asians” series, which follows the story of Nick and Rachel. This inspires confidence in fans that producers will continue to make movies in the “Crazy Rich Asians” series.
The film, directed by Jon Chu, stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, the show-stealing Awkwafina as well as many other incredibly talented actors. This romantic comedy is much more complex than the trailer would suggest, exploring issues of race, beauty standards, wealth and status.
The film follows Rachel Chu (Wu), a Chinese-American professor of economics at New York University. Her boyfriend, Nick Young (Golding), invites her to Singapore to meet his family and attend the wedding of his best friend, Colin Khoo (Chris Pang). Once there, Chu realizes that Young isn’t the average Joe that she had fallen in love with, but rather discovers he is a part of one of the richest families in Singapore. She must learn how to deal with his way of life, as well as his over-protective mother, Eleanor Young (Yeoh).
Rachel’s friend from college, Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina), is the standout of the film. Her down-to-earth charm against the backdrop of opulence is the perfect reminder throughout the film that this sort of wealth isn’t normal. This is not to say that she isn’t wealthy. In fact, she is extremely wealthy, which is why it’s so compelling that she is shocked by the Young family way of life. Goh is the voice of the viewer in the most entertaining way.
With films like this, you have to question if they are glorifying perceptions of wealth that are unhealthy and damaging to the everyday viewer. While this is one interpretation of the film, I believe it goes beyond that. Rachel is also quite well off. She’s a professor at one of the top universities in the country, yet she is made uncomfortable with this level of opulence. We are seeing this world through a pair of eyes that feel very familiar to most of us.
Overall, I highly suggest seeing this film, which is currently in theaters. It delivers on the warm fuzzy feelings and extremely attractive men that we have all gotten used to when it comes to romantic comedies, and will leave you thinking a bit more about the complexities of wealth and status.