Crazy Rich with Asian Representation: “Crazy Rich Asians” Movie Review


Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.

“Crazy Rich Asians” topped the box office upon its release and grossed over $164 million dollars.

Ali Elmalky, Staff Writer

Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.”

-Napoleon Bonaparte

As the movie begins, this quote is what headlines “Crazy Rich Asians,” directed by Jon Chu, and it is a succinct summary of how the movie affected film critics and audiences alike.

Since its release, the movie has grossed over $164 million dollars worldwide, along with securing a spot at the top of the box office, according to Box Office Mojo. It is the first film produced by a major Hollywood studio featuring an all-Asian cast set in modern times since “The Joy Luck Club” in 1993.

“Crazy Rich Asians” tells the story of Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American economics professor at New York University (NYU) and her boyfriend, Nicholas “Nick” Young. Nick’s best friend Colin is getting married; Nick sees this as the perfect opportunity for Rachel to meet his family in Singapore.

Jon Chu integrates the message that family is crucial, but prioritizing individual happiness can be more important. Nick’s matriarchal family values Chinese tradition, such as making dumplings together.

From the moment they meet, Nick’s mother, Eleanor, passively despises Rachel. Eleanor values wealth, class and culture. Rachel is essentially the opposite of Eleanor’s expectations. Eleanor makes it clear that Rachel is not worthy of being in a relationship with Nick.

What makes “Crazy Rich Asians” unique is the titular Asian cast, which critics have heralded as a testament to diversity and a floodgate for Asian-American representation in media.

The movie itself seamlessly intertwines many storylines throughout it. Nick attends Colin’s bachelor party and reveals he wants to propose to Rachel. Meanwhile, Rachel is being tormented by jealous women at the bachelorette party.

The characters throughout the movie add variety to the romantic-comedy plot. Viewers meet Rachel’s sassy former college roommate, Goh Peik Lin, Nick’s snooty cousin Alistair Chen and Nick’s scheming ex-girlfriend Amanda Ling.

The character interactions add another layer of depth to the film. I found myself recoiling at Rachel’s interactions with the Young family, but these moments serve to show how truly out of touch Rachel is with the upper class.

While its success sets the precedent for more Asian-American representation, “Crazy Rich Asians” is still a fun and sweet romantic comedy that will leave you with a smile and a hankering for dumplings.