Crazy Rich Asians: The Movement

The latest summer hit, Crazy Rich Asians, based on the novel written by Kevin Kwan, has made waves in the Hollywood community. Two weeks after the movie’s release, it was already a box office smash hit, having made $84 million. The movie is a conventional romantic comedy and is like the perfect blend of Cinderella and Pride and Prejudice. In Crazy Rich Asians, NYC economics professor Rachel Chu spends the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, who is the best man for his best friend’s wedding. Prior to traveling to Singapore, what Rachel doesn’t know is that she’s dating one of the most eligible bachelors in Asia. The movie revolves around Rachel trying to navigate her way through Nick’s intricate and complicated family dynamics, while dealing with having a constant target on her back.

The release of this movie has had an everlasting impact in the Hollywood community, as it featured the first all-Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club, which was released in 1993. Crazy Rich Asians stuns audiences with its portrayal of Singaporean opulence, its exquisite food culture, and its vibrant society. It opens with Napoleon Bonaparte’s quote, “Let China sleep; for when she wakes she will shake the world.” The movie goes on to represent America, once the land of dreams, as being an impoverished country, as the Goh family instructs their children to gratefully eat their chicken nuggets because “there are children starving in America.” The movie portrays families lavishly thriving on excess as China’s wealth is shared amongst the Cosmopolitan rich Asians.

Furthermore, the movie does a great job at showing that divine cultural gravity is pulling towards Asian culture as the Western reign is coming to an end. Along with children starving in America, the movie implements several other tropes to demonstrate this. In the opening scene, the Young family is denied at the Calthorpe Hotel, but shortly after, it is shown that the family has become the hotel’s new owners. Additionally, during Colin Khoo’s over-the-top bachelor party, models from the Miss World competition are flown in with sport bikinis and ceremonial sashes during the party, which is the way minorities are traditionally represented in American movies.

Crazy Rich Asians has amazingly inverted racial expectations typically portrayed in American movies, allowing American-Asians to feel less alienated upon watching. This movie, following a 25-year gap, allows Asian audiences to identify more with the characters illustrated on the big screen while appreciating the nuances of their culture.