Daily Archives: August 27, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians Review- Humorous Drama Churned With Emotional Twists

Crazy Rich Asians is billed as a rare thing because it's the first Asian-American-focused studio movie in more than 20 years. It is a great movie because of its cast, its story and its heart.  It also meets the objective- the stars and director Jon M. Chu of the movie wanted- the film to showcase Asians who were not stereotypes or little-used side-players.

Crazy Rich Asians is the rare American movie that allows Asian men and women to be objects of affection, glamorous wealthy villains operating in society's most elite circles, and players in a tale of love and all its discontents. At first glance, Crazy Rich Asians is luxury exhibitionism, and it's thrilling to watch. But it's made even more thrilling by the fact that there are thoughtful stories about parenthood, love, and fidelity lurking beneath.

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The appeal of “Crazy Rich Asians” is the story of a culture clash that erupts when an Asian-American woman from New York meets her boyfriend's family in Singapore, confronting a real-life generation gap.

The story, which follows the coupling of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) and Nick Young (Henry Golding), is Cinderella with a twist: The evil stepmother and stepsisters are on Prince Charming's side of the family.

Based on Kevin Kwan's best-selling 2013 novel, which spawned two sequels, Crazy Rich Asians is the first major studio movie in 25 years to feature a cast that's majority Asian-American and Asian. Believe it or not, none of them are playing scientists, martial artists, assassins, or courtesans.

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Rachel is faced with split between her Asian and Asian-American identity. Even though she doesn't seem like she should be an outsider with Nick's family, she's never fully accepted because of her American cultural identity. Some of the most affirming and thought-provoking parts of Crazy Rich Asians happen when it's exploring this duality.

One can't help but develop affinity for Rachel's friend Goh Peik Lin (played by Nora Lurn, Awkwafina) because every time she's onscreen, she's the center of attention. She's the spark that gives life to Crazy Rich Asians, revving up each scene she's in with full of sarcastic and yet comedic snaps of energy.

In a dialogue in the movie, she tells Nick's mother, “just thinks you're some, like, unrefined banana. Yellow on the outside, white on the inside.”  The term “banana” can be used in a derogatory way to describe Asian Americans who are thought to have “lost” their Asian heritage and behave in a stereotypically white way. Though one may not agree with the use of that term to describe a person, yet one can sympathize and identify with someone who has been called this.

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Crazy Rich Asians tells about Asian identity.  It is reflection of how many Asian Americans often feel as if we're neither here nor there. However, the movie did not dwell on this enough.  In USA, the struggle for Asian Americans is often one of assimilation, of being American, especially in the nation's current political climate.

Interestingly, Crazy Rich Asians shines a light on a concept that people in Asia don't see American life as worth assimilating to. Perhaps, they are onto something. Ironically, that is the reason Rachel felt a stranger in her ancestral country because the Asian American experience is not the same as the Asian experience.

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All this said, Crazy Rich Asians isn't a perfect movie: The ending feels a little tacked on to give victorious spin to American way of life- pursue your way of life with no consideration for traditional ways that family relied on.