'Crazy Rich Asians' (2018) Review
It's August release time and if you know films, it's not a major release month. Summer blockbusters are over and school is back in session. So you would expect the new love story Crazy Rich Asians to be a trait film in some way. Really, what's to gain from this film if you just read the script because it's such a basic plot. Crazy Rich Asians comes together though in such a different way. Something much more that puts a lot of things into perspective, including a film that offers more than just a love story.
Based on Kevin Kwan 2013 book of the same, Director Jon Chu’s adaptation features the first all Asian-American cast for a Hollywood film in 25 years (such a sad fact). Chinese-American, Rachel Yu (Constance Wu) finds out her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) comes from a wealthy family and she learns Nick mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) doesn't approve of him dating an American. Nick and Rachel's relationship is tested to it's fullest while both are celebrating a wedding in Singapore.
We've seen this script done before. Girl meets boy. Boy and girl go through a bunch of turmoil to get to the right place but a smart person will see Crazy Rich Asians is something so much richer than that. Even if she isn't the strongest actress at times, Constance Wu makes a rich character that you feel and believe is something more than a Hollywood script. You feel her pain as she struggling to make something so important to her work after going through a rough childhood and like a good romantic film, you go through a roller coaster of emotions much as Rachel does. Much like Rachel, a lot is to like in the Nick character. Again, he's the main character that's likable but in his own different way, he's trying to figure more things about himself and what family means to him as a whole. In a great performance from actress Michelle Yeoh, she comes off as a 'witch' and a character that does make you feel scared off and would make you question your family. A film that doesn't use big actors in main characters to make this film more believable and to have a sense of realism.
A big topping on the cake for Crazy Rich Asians after it's the main cast is its production design. Using a wealthy Singapore wedding (you don't see that often) and rich Singapore as a whole, you get shown a beautiful world of wealthiness and rich color. I could see a mansion would be too much for some people as it's your main setting and something you could get lost within but you have those main characters to grasp off. You get more exposure to a Singapore wealthy family as Rachel visits college friend family Goh Peik Lin (Awkwafina) and her father Goh Wye Mun (Ken Jeong) (even if Jeong does bring a sense of cliche Hollywood back into the film) comes around a lot, two characters that bring humor to the story.
It's a film that goes down a different rabbit hole for Hollywood and exposes it so well. Crazy Rich Asians does more than enough as a film. It now needs the proper exposure for it to be fully embraced.