Review: Crazy Rich Asians
By Alana Cook
This week marked the UK release of 2018’s much anticipated film Crazy Rich Asians directed by Jon M. Chu. A young couple, Rachel (Constance Wu) and Nick (Henry Golding), travel to Singapore for a friend’s wedding and to meet Nick’s family, who, unbeknownst to Rachel, are insanely rich and not the most welcoming.
Crazy Rich Asians ticks all the boxes of a typical romantic comedy: madly in love protagonists, the uptight mother, the eccentric best friend, the high maintenance family, a wedding, a makeover and even token romcom lines. Yet underlying all these typical traits of the Hollywood romcom genre is a substantial difference: the film’s identity and Asian characters.
Singapore provides the spectacular setting for the film, with its impressive and unique architecture and vibrant colours making the film aesthetically pleasing. The wedding scene is one example of where the film truly shines in bringing together visual delight with heart-warming romance and the perfect amount of cheesiness. Accompanied by a beautiful cover of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love, the scene is enough to make you melt a bit inside.
It certainly isn’t flawless. The film is slow off the ground in some places, therefore falling flat at times. Moreover, when Rachel discovers a shocking secret about her family the film seems to brush over it and resolve the issue rather quickly instead of considering its weight. One could also argue that in some ways the film is a form of cultural tourism; it appeals to the tourist’s gaze in its specific portrayal of cultural elements.
However, these are minor criticisms. The stellar cast and brilliant characters, particularly the women, make this a very important and uplifting film. It’s simply funny and a joy to watch. In an industry where Hollywood films all too often only feature a token minority character, Crazy Rich Asians does for romcoms what Black Panther did for superhero films.