“Crazy Rich Asians” follows the ups and downs of Rachel Chu, an Asian – American woman whose life is thrown upside down when she visits the family of her Chinese – native boyfriend, Nick. At first glance, this film may look like any other romcom, but Crazy Rich Asians is more than ordinary. The film is the first eastern Asian – led film in 25 years and is the most successful studio romcom in nearly a decade. How? By simply knowing its audience and telling a meaningful story.
The production team of “Crazy Rich Asians” understood that we as people, love the extravagant. It’s the reason why we watch the Kardashians. We want to be where the rich people are, even if only in fantasy. This movie does not shy away from knowing what the audience wants to see, plus it delivers. Shot after shot is filled with gorgeous dresses, gold laden mansions and a 40-million-dollar wedding that will take your breath away. “Crazy Rich Asians” also knows that in a romcom we expect over-the-top-characters, romance scenes that make us swoon and DRAMA. The movie is filled with hilariously sweet characters and golden one-liners. The cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” during the wedding? I bawled. And the final confrontation between antagonist and protagonist will leave you screaming “YES QUEEN!” It’s. Just. Plain. Fun.
“Crazy Rich Asians” also excels as a story, mainly because of its focus on the relationships between characters. This is fitting because it makes the story all the more heartfelt. We all can relate to relationships (both positive and negative) because how we interact with each other is what fundamentally makes us human; plus, these relationships and interactions are beautifully crafted. We’ve got a quirky, relatable main character, Rachel, who most of the relationships are built around. Her friendships are hilarious and pure and her relationship with her mother is beautiful. Her romance with her boyfriend Nick has amazing chemistry and perfectly crafted moments. Her relationships with those who oppose her (some of Nick’s family and friends) are conflict – driven and intense. Each interaction between characters pulls you deeper in whether you gasp or swoon.
Despite all this, what is most incredible about “Crazy Rich Asians” is that it gives a voice to people whose stories are often ignored. Today, there are many people who grow up something-American like Rachel. Their identities clash and often this causes conflict, discomfort, and a feeling of not really belonging in either world. Rachel is constantly thrown off by the fact that even though she is Chinese, apparently, she isn’t Chinese enough – at least according to Nick’s family. Others from a mixed heritage likely can relate to Rachel’s struggle. They wonder, “Where do I belong?” Telling Rachel’s story communicates to these people, exclaiming: “you are not alone.”
We as a society do not tell enough stories of minorities and outcasts, but we need to. Stories validate experiences. They make people feel seen, whole and accepted, which is what makes “Crazy Rich Asians” beautiful.