‘Crazy Rich Asians’ showcases culture

Movie Review

Athena Benjamin, Writer

The first Hollywood studio movie to feature an entirely Asian cast since “The Joy Luck Club” 25 years ago, “Crazy Rich Asians” brings new and captivating narratives to the screen.

Based on the best-selling novel by Kevin Kwan, the movie follows Chinese-American Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, and her Chinese boyfriend, Nick Young, played by Henry Golding. They take a trip from their home in New York City to Singapore for a wedding  in the Young family.

Nick, heir to one of the most affluent companies in Asia and Singapore’s most eligible bachelor, has kept his wealth a secret. Rachel is thrust into a world of luxury and unfamiliarity that comes with the Young family.

Nick’s protective mother Eleanor Young, played by Michelle Yeoh, and Singapore’s eligible bachelorettes threaten Rachel throughout the movie in an attempt to push her away from the family.

Nick, who is blinded by his love for his mother, and Rachel’s old college roommate, Peik Lin, played by Awkwafina, were Rachel’s only source of solace. Nick’s cousin, Astrid Leong, played by Gemma Chan, sympathizes with Rachel and aids her in various situations. However, she is often absent because she is struggling to deal with her cheating husband.

Despite being a romantic-comedy, the movie preaches personal and cultural empowerment. After a shameful discovery about her father, Rachel picks herself back up with some help and fully embraces who she is.

She takes a strategic stand against Eleanor while playing a game of mahjong, leaving everything on the table—figuratively and literally.

Rachel puts her personal respect above her romantic relationship in this moment and ends the movie with both.

The chemistry between Golding and Wu was electrifying. Regardless of the scene, their energy radiated through the characters. Their connection brought the audience to the edge of their seats.

Most importantly though, “Crazy Rich Asians” showcases Asian culture. With an entirely Asian cast, this movie brings something monumental to the screen: representation. In a study conducted by USC, only 5 percent of the top 100 films of 2017 featured an Asian actor with a speaking role.

There are 17 million Asian-Americans in the United States, yet there is next to nothing to show for them in the film industry. The casting of “Crazy Rich Asians” has been long overdue and is the start of a new beginning.

With a $30 million budget, “Crazy Rich Asians” earned about $117 million in domestically over Labor Day weekend. It topped the North American charts for three consecutive weeks. In recent resurrections of romantic-comedies, it is the most successful since “The Proposal” in 2009.