Movie Review: Crazy Rich Asians
Crazy Rich Asians made history in more than one way this weekend with it being the first romantic comedy since 2015 to break $20 million on its opening weekend. Directed by Jon M. Chu, the film is based on the Kevin Kwan novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim and follows a young Asian American woman who travels to meet her boyfriend’s family and discovers them to be some of the richest people in Singapore. The film is led by a fantastic all-Asian cast with Constance Wu and Henry Golding headlining the film. The cast also includes performances from Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Ken Jeong, and Lisa Lu among many others.
The film begins with a short introduction to the Young family and an experience they had while in London in the mid-90’s. From there, the film pivots to Rachel Chu, a young economics professor at NYU. She is met by her boyfriend, Nick Young, who is another professor, and over dinner he asks her to accompany him to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. Meanwhile, social media and gossip make Nick’s family aware that he intends to bring Rachel back home with him. Rachel agrees to the trip, although she in unaware that Nick’s family is one of the wealthiest families in Singapore. Once she begins to find out the truth about Nick’s family, Rachel finds herself fighting to impress and please Nick’s crazy rich and traditional family.
So, I think the only place to begin with Crazy Rich Asians is that this movie is incredibly charming. It follows the familiar beats of a romantic comedy, but it also weaves in perfectly some more dramatic elements as the movie progresses. It ends up not just being a funny tale about meeting the parents but an in-depth look at what happens when different values clash. From the moment that Rachel meets Nick’s mother, the whole American ideals of happiness and passion are in direct contrast with the Young family’s loyalty to one another and their traditions. There is a lot of rich background at play in this film, and it certainly elevates the movie as a whole. In addition to the themes, the movie also has some beautiful production design that extends from set design to the soundtrack.
Of course, this whole movie works so perfectly due to the incredibly talented cast that was assembled. Gemma Chan is enchanting as the reserved Astrid, and she literally steals the attention away from everyone else when she is on screen. Awkwafina is a standout as the eccentric yet stylish Peik Lin, and Michelle Yeoh’s performance of the domineering Eleanor was a perfect obstacle for the character of Rachel. Constance Wu showed off her well-known comedy chops, but she also nailed the intense and emotional sequences her character required. Seriously, the conversation during the mahjong game between Yeoh and Wu is one of the best scenes of the film and is brilliantly acted. Overall, the performances were wonderful, and they only went on to show how every character was unique and thoughtfully crafted.
Overall, I would say that Crazy Rich Asians is a must watch for the summer. It is not the normal fair of big action movies that we are accustomed to this time of year, but this thoughtful, sweet romantic comedy is a fun watch. It does lean into important themes and worthwhile topics, but it also utilizes hilarious sequences and exciting locations. It also manages to surprise with a few reveals, which is always a positive thing for me. Needless to say, I would recommend seeing Crazy Rich Asians in theaters, especially if you are a fan of the romantic comedy-drama genre.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.