A review of the recent film “Crazy Rich Asians”

While this may not be the first Western-produced film with an East Asian cast – think “The Joy Luck Club” (1993) or “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000) – the sheer number of cast members with various Asian backgrounds and the huge commercial success of this 2018 movie (it was the highest-grossing romantic comedy in a decade) make it a step in cinematic history to be celebrated. 

Set in the Chinese community of Singapore (although filming was in Malaysia as well as Singapore), it is essentially a simple story of the upper-class, uber-wealthy family of Singaporean Nick Young (a first feature film role for Henry Golding) not accepting Chinese-American Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) in spite of her being a college professor of economics. The principal obstacle is Nick’s mother (played by accomplished actress Michelle Yeoh) but Rachel has the support of an eccentric friend (played by rapper Awkwafina). 

The film is based on the novel of the same name which is the first part of a trilogy by Kevin Kwan. The enormous sucess of “Crazy Rich Asians” means that we can look forward to sequels “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems”. And why not? It is refreshing and fun to see an old-fashioned love story in a different ethnic context.


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