Crazy Rich Asians Review, the uncut Version
First off, this article is well overdue as Crazy Rich Asians came out over two months ago. This review is not rid of spoiler, but if you wanted to see the movie you should have seen it already. If you would like a more professional and short version then I suggest reading my review on the Camp Reel Stories website, here's the link: http://campreelstories.com/crazy-rich-asians-review/. I hope you enjoy my uncut opinion.
Crazy Rich Asians burst through movie theaters everywhere by breaking barriers that stand between Asians and the media.The film follows Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, as she travels to Singapore with her boyfriend Nick Young who happens to secretly be extremely wealthy. As a result, Rachel is brought into a world of riches, disapproving mothers, and threatening socialites. Their love and Rachel’s identity as an Asian-American is put to the test. Jon Chu’s direction of this film is phenomenal and perfectly complements the descriptive writing of the original novel by Kevin Kwan. This film is so moving and important for everyone to see. An all Asian cast is so rare in Hollywood and I am so thrilled that Jon Chu was able to create this masterpiece. The cinematography is stunning and the script was co-written by an Asian woman, Adele Lim.
Whenever I walk into a movie theater I think to myself, “ Is this movie going to make me cry?” I always decide how good a movie is by how much I cry during it…I cried five different times throughout this movie. First, for Rachel Chu when Nick’s mother, told her she wasn’t good enough for her son or her family. Then again during the wedding scene. When all layers of audio were stripped away, leaving only the soft sound of water running down the aisle. In this moment, the entire theater fell dead silent, entranced by the magic-like filmmaking of this scene.
A scene that captured a moment that realistically would only be a few seconds, and made it feel like forever, in a good way. The exchange of looks and the words "I love you," in the romantic setting reminded the audience why they should root for this couple. This scene was by far the best scene cinematically, which says a lot when it comes to this film. I cried again when Rachel ran away from the wedding reception, while Nick chased after her with no success. The fourth time occurred when Rachel’s mother arrived at Peik Lin’s house. All of these scenes showcased raw emotion from the actors, beautiful cinematography, and showed me why this film is pure cinematic excellence.
The final time I cried within this two hour long movie was when the credits rolled. I realized when the credits started to roll that the movie was over, and that there were no other movies that could possibly give me this same overwhelming feeling of pride for my ethnicity. There is no other movie that speaks to the struggle of trying to understand how I have to define what being Asian-american means to me.
This film is not perfect in every way, which is okay. Three things that stood out as the most unacceptable about this film were: the title and its reflection on the types of Asian people represented, Nico Santos’ character, and the inescapable cliche "transformation" scene. The title Crazy Rich Asians is not accurate at all because the film features mainly Chinese-Singaporean characters. I am Chinese-American so this story is tailored to my culture and ethnicity.Yet there are so many different Asian countries beside China and Singapore,that means that many Asians people walked into a theater expecting to see s film where they would finally be represented. Those people would end up disappointed because the title “Crazy Rich Asians” suggests the film would be about all Asians. Instead the movie is only focused on Chinese-Singaporean Asians. when Singapore isn’t made up of only Chinese-Singaporean people. According to Global citizen.org, Singapore is made up of almost 25% Malaysian, Indian, and Eurasian people.
Many of the actors playing lower/working class people in this film are still Asian, but are Asian actors with darker skin tones. Even in a film that is so groundbreaking for people of color, that those who have darker skin colors are still stuck portraying the working class and servants. Kevin Kwan, the author of the novel the film is based on, wrote this story about Chinese-Singaporean characters. That doesn’t excuse the fact that tacking the word Asian onto a title for a film about solely Chinese people is wrong. The word “Asian” doesn’t mean Chinese. This film may be called Crazy Rich Asians, but the title of this film does not refer to ALL Asians.
Nico Santos plays Oliver, whose main character trait is that he is gay. He is portrayed as the stereotypical gay man who is seen as fashionable, funny, and sassy. This character’s purpose for being in this film is to help the protagonist, that’s it. Whether it’s walking her around the Young’s party or putting together a glam squad for Rachel, Santos’ character serves no other purpose.The craziest part of his role is that he had to be part of a scene equally as cliche as his character. That scene being the mandatory rom-com transformation scene. Except Wu’s character wasn't taking off her glasses and releasing her hair from a ponytail. Instead she tried on countless different dresses that any good stylist wouldn’t have brought for a client going to such a major wedding. The fact that this scene seemed crucial enough to have in the film is sickening.
Though the movie is definitely a love story, it’s not made up entirely of cliches and sexualization of women, it’s a film that most importantly doesn’t over sexualize women of color. In film, television, and advertisements if a woman of color is in it, she is likely to be exoticsized and portrayed as a sexual being. On the other side of that argument, the Asian women in this film aren’t seen as submissive or weak in anyway which was so refreshing to see on screen. All of the main female characters were depicted as strong, intelligent and caring women. I think that not just for Asian girls and women, but all females of all cultures benefit from seeing such strong women on screen.
I can’t help but feel proud of a film that showcases female actresses, especially Asian ones. Overall, this film was fantastic. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I felt all the emotions of a good rom-com and left the theater feeling good. Finally, a film featuring people that looked like me, with an important message of respect and family. This film reaffirms that Asian characters should never be played by non-Asian leads; especially in a story written to be for Asian actors. All cultures must continue to assert our place in our own stories. I am happy to hear that a sequel is forthcoming as a result of the film's record breaking numbers, proving to major movie studios that Asians will no longer be hidden from the screen.