Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Crazy Rich Asians

Summary: Rachel Chu (Constance Chu) is a professor at NYU and lives a modest lifestyle, so when her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) asks her to come to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding and meet his family, she thinks nothing of it. However, she discovers on the plane ride that there’s more to Nick than she thinks — he isn’t just rich, his family is one of the most famous and wealthy names in East Asia. It soon becomes clear that she doesn’t fit in with the family and no one makes it more clear than Nick’s mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), who thinks Rachel will only hold her son back. Luckily, her college friend Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina) lives in Singapore and has her back in a fish out of water story of class and culture where love may not be enough to solve everything.

Review: Crazy Rich Asians is a well-told story and a giant middle finger to the marginalization of Asians in Hollywood (though I hear there are still problems in this movie where that’s concerned). The tale may be as old as time — poor girl courts rich guy and deals with disapproving mother — but the cultural aspects and the production design keep things fresh and engaging. In fact, the strength of the writing ensures that anyone from any culture could relate to this.

The performances are all stellar with special props going to Michelle Yeoh and Awkwafina, the former for her sheer intensity and the latter for being a serious delight to watch (her father, played by Ken Jeong, calls her “the Asian Ellen”). The characters display a whole array of personalities — kind, supportive, opulent, boorish, catty, layered, stuck-up, modest, loud, funny, awkward, and so much more — making the ensemble feel distinct and smashing stereotypes of how Asian characters can and should be portrayed in Hollywood. It also makes a lot of the moments hit that much harder when emotional strings need to be pulled and believe me, they will be pulled.

I believe that everyone will be able to relate to something in this movie, no matter how painful. Personally, I related to the part where Rachel’s room was vandalized, though others may relate to being looked down upon by their prospective in-laws or getting stuck at a party some obnoxious friend threw for them. And yet, even though it’s all very relatable, it’s still so unapologetically Asian, which not only lets the average moviegoer see how similar those people are to them, but also helps them gain an appreciation for the culture. The final confrontation between Rachel and Eleanor takes place over a game of Mahjong, which is just about the most Chinese setting you can get and it ties into both of their heritages perfectly, yet their conversation crosses cultures to reach everyone. It is to East Asia what Black Panther was to Africa.

There’s been some criticism about the lack of Asian diversity in the cast or the fact that it perpetuates the stereotype of China as the predominant force in Asia. I, however, am not really qualified to judge any of that and think the film holds up remarkably well under its own merits. This may hit some raw nerves with people, given some of the situations portrayed, but I’m hard pressed to think of anyone who shouldn’t see this movie. It’s a down-to-earth slice of life romcom with deep roots in a culture that Hollywood has marginalized for way too long. So next time you hear someone say that Asian characters need to be whitewashed because American audiences wouldn’t relate to them, kindly slide this DVD, Blu-Ray, or download code into their mailbox.

Fun Tidbit: So if you’re wondering why the race of the cast is so talked about, it’s because there are only a handful of western-produced movies with an all-Asian cast. They are as follows: The Joy Luck Club from 1993, Better Luck Tomorrow from 2002, A Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas in 2011, Revenge of the Green Dragons in 2014, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny in 2016. So it matters that… wait, there was a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?! This requires investigation…

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