How crazy are these crazy rich Asians even?
The highly anticipated film adaptation of everyone’s favorite novel, Crazy Rich Asians, is finally here and the hype is real! It’s not just another rich-man-falls-in-love-with-a-“poor”-woman type of story—not in the least. And did we mention that its full-Asian cast totally kicks ass?
People from all over (and outside) Asia waited for this for so long and now that it’s here, the movie has proven that the long wait is worth it. These crazy rich Asians are crazy and rich on an entirely different level.
First, let’s get some things about the main characters out of the way. Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is a simple Asian woman who is an American citizen with an immigrant mother who works as an economics professor in NYU. Nick Young (Henry Golding), on the other hand, is Rachel’s looker of a boyfriend who is immensely rich—even though she has no idea.
Let the craziness begin
Everything begins to unravel when they get to the airport and start their journey to Singapore, where Nick’s family lives. Rachel first gets suspicious when what she thought was an economy-class ticket turned out to be a business class one. Despite her surprise, Nick brushes it off and explains his family is “comfortable” and does business with the airline.
But the truth comes out and Nick’s wealth eventually becomes glaringly obvious. And if the family cars, jewelry and vast land wasn’t proof enough, Rachel’s friend Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina) explained that the Youngs practically built Singapore and were, by all means, “old rich.”
Upon discovering that her boyfriend is one of the most prominent and richest men in Asia, Rachel felt excited and confused at the same time. After all, can you just imagine being the woman in a position that most people dream of being in?
Then things take an expected turn as family members, a rich ex-girlfriend and one traditional mother try to get in the way. But Rachel didn’t consider giving up her relationship and remained persuasive to prove she was more than everyone thought—that is, until Nick’s mother, Eleanor Sung-Yong (Michelle Yeoh), plays her last card and Rachel just does not stand for it.
Yes, it’s a love story
There is no denying that Crazy Rich Asians is a langit-lupa love story that we’ve seen countless times. If there is one major difference, it’s that that Nick and Rachel’s version is brought to the greatest heights. There is opulence, lavishness, ungodly wealth and a carelessness with money we can only hope of one-day achieving.
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Nevertheless, it’s there: A rich boy falls in love with a girl outside of his family’s circle, a girl that doesn’t (in their standards) belong. Do they make it? Does Nick leave his family behind? Or does Rachel leave him?
But now, time for the real stuff
The much buzzed about Crazy Rich Asians is that it isn’t just a love story; it’s about so much more than romance—it’s about family and culture and the lengths we all go through to keep these things intact.
This Jon M. Chu-directed film shows the ugly and breathtaking side of Asians. From our food to our style and our traditions to our exclusivity. It proves you do not fight a mother’s fire with your own, but that she isn’t always right either. It shows how we keep our culture alive no matter where we come from or what house we grew up in. Crazy Rich Asians makes obvious how much pressure parents put on their children—and how they always come from a good place.
And what it means for Hollywood
Perhaps more importantly, however, is that the film proves how a from-start-to-finish Asian cast can kick major ass in the box office. They keep throwing this out, but it’s only right we keep saying it: This is the first time in 25 years that this has been done. And while Joy Luck Club is still a classic, Crazy Rich Asians is the facelift we (and Hollywood) needed.
Don’t miss it Crazy Rich Asians—and grab some Singaporean food right after.
Words Adie Pieraz and Ayee Villalon
Art Alexandra Lara
Banner image Rozette Rago for The New York Times