“I met a girl, I fell in love, and I wanna marry her.” That’s a dialogue from Crazy Rich Asians, and honestly, most Romantic Comedies are as simple as that dialogue. You could describe this film as a Cinderella story, but instead of an American couple, you have Asians. It’s not a revolutionary Rom-Com, nor does it try to be. The film is simple, funny, and meaningful.
Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of Nick Young and Rachel Chu, who both in live America until Nick decides its time he introduces his girlfriend Rachel to his family in Singapore. They travel for Nick’s friend’s wedding, and as they travel, Rachel and the audience discover that her boyfriend is more than just a pretty face. He’s super-rich.
As they land in Singapore, all hell breaks loose. Naturally, the family is not keen on Nick marrying a simple working-class girl, who was born and raised in America. So it becomes Rachel’s mission to prove that she is worthy of being the wife of Singapore’s Prince Harry. The film has all the classic Rom-Com elements such as the mean popular (or in this case rich) girls, the idiotic family members, the heroine’s quirky friend/sidekick, and the scene where the leading lady wears a beautiful dress and everyone’s jaws drop.
While the stereotypical elements will satisfy the romantics of the world, the film is taken to the next level by excellent performances from entire the cast. The show stealer is none other than the leading lady, Constance Wu who plays Rachel. She is believable, and she possesses a charisma that makes you want to cheer for her. Just the way she sulks in Nick’s arms after a difficult event with the family is endearing. While her character may be simple, one cannot underestimate how difficult it is to come across as a genuine working-class girl.
The film also has layers, and it goes beyond just finding true love. It’s a world that all Asians will understand. Whether you’re Chinese, Indian, or Pakistani, you can relate to how a family can be so stubborn with their culture and not realise that they are destroying the very family they believe they are protecting.
It shows the hypocritical ways of the culture. Asians parents will raise their sons in a foreign land, but when it comes time for them to get married, only a woman born and raised in their country is acceptable. They will reject women of the same nationality as well if they have not been brought up in their homeland. It’s racism, and the film does not shy away from this. In one scene, Nick tells his Mum Eleanor that he has brought home a “Chinese” girl. She replies, “Chinese-American,” in a rather unimpressed manner.
That is another strong element of Crazy Rich Asians; even the supporting characters have a lot of depth. They have their own stories, and this helps the two-hour length to flow smoothly.
The films simplicity is the only real downfall. The narrative is a rehash of countless romantic stories of the past, and there is a feeling of familiarity with most scenes, which is not always a good thing. The novel Crazy Rich Asians was a huge success, and that may also hinder the film in some people’s eyes. The book’s always better, right?
All in all, Crazy Rich Asians is a cinematic treat that delivers lovable characters, and moments that make you believe in love all over again. There are also plenty of strong female characters, which is always great. But most importantly, the film sends a lot of strong messages as well as entertaining the masses. That’s the beauty of Nick and Rachel’s story.
Dir: Jon M. Chu
Prd: Nina Jacobson
Scr: Peter Chiarelli, Adele Lim
Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Nico Santos, Lisa Lu, Ken Jeong, Michelle Yeoh
DOP: Vanja Cernjul
Editor: Myron Kerstein
Music: Brian Tyler
Run Time: 121 Minutes