There may be a couple of spoilers in here, so beware. The movie premiered on August 15, 2018. Mainly I talk about themes, characters, and sappy feelings (I'm not the only one). But if you want to watch this movie fresh, then maybe don’t read this review yet. Also, pardon any colloquialisms or incomplete sentences. I will just speak from my heart. (This post was originally posted at an early screening in 2018, now with some edits.)
The first thing about this movie is to disregard the title. It’s terrible — Crazy Rich Asians is a tacky name. It misrepresents the whole vibe of the story. The title conveys a superficial movie that is geared only towards Asian people, focused only on materialistic wealth. Although the film does feature wealth, it's not the heart and core of the film. I know the movie was based on the book by Kevin Kwan , but I was worried it would drive people away with such a shallow title! This is such a wholesome story for everyone, with themes that encompass feeling incompetent, remembering to believe in yourself, the complicated male ego (and, well, all egos), the Cinderella story, and standing up for your values. There was honestly just so much heart, culture, and significance that went into this story. It just radiated an unexpected amount of truth for a little rom-com film.
This is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time. Now, this may sound a bit obvious or too easy (because I'm Asian?). And maybe it is, but for good reason. One may think — you only like the movie because it has an all-Asian cast. And yes. Probably, definitely yes. Maybe I was starving for something like this my whole entire life. Maybe I’ve never seen a story with so many people whom I can identify with — women and men, kind aunties, weird uncles, wise popo’s, and silly best friends who for the first time look like the ones whom I personally know! It’s funny that white people have this luxury with every single movie, so maybe it seems a bit strange that my eyes were dripping with emotion simply from seeing a movie full of my people speaking English. Because honestly, this is the only one I’ve seen in 1.5 decades.
Maybe this is the first time in my life where I light up at the sound of Cantonese being spoken next to English, without needing to brace myself to be the butt end of a joke. This may be the first time Chinese people are shown in an American movie in a wholesome and heartwarming way. This is a story where all these innately human themes come together in a way that is just so personal and perfect as if the universe made this story just to hug my heart. Again, the title gives a silly impression, but this is one of my favorite movies (I've watched it 7 times by now).
An American-born Chinese economics professor accompanies her boyfriend to Singapore for his best friend's wedding, only to get thrust into the lives of Asia's rich and famous.
Jon M. Chu
Jon M. Chu