By Amani Salahudeen
“Crazy Rich Asians,” the movie everyone’s been swooning over for the past month, is more revolutionary than you think — it is a movie about self discovery and being comfortable with your heritage.
It is important for everyone to be able to envision themselves as characters that are portrayed on TV, and recently, people have started to speak up about movies casting a mainly all-white cast –– just take a look at “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” or “Charmed.” Hollywood is heading in the right direction by including more Asian representation, which is why it is so crucial for more people to go and watch it.
The movie, based on the novel by Kevin Kwan and directed by Jon M. Chu, is about an economics professor at New York University, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), who has an American-Chinese background. She falls in love with the ever so charismatic (and rich) Nick Young, who is played by Henry Golding. This movie has an incredible cast.
Of course, Rachel has no clue how rich he is is or what his massive overbearing family is like. Even Nick downplays his family’s importance. Rachel tells Nick, “You’re like the Prince William of Asia!” To which he responds, “I’m much more of a Harry.”
It is often unusual when a movie lives up to the hype, but this is the case for “Crazy Rich Asians.” I loved that there were underlying messages sprinkled throughout the film, such as the importance of family and standing up for what you believe is right even if everyone else is against you.
This film is a meet-the-family romantic comedy with an Asian flair. Seeing an all-Asian cast on screen was pretty groundbreaking for a Hollywood movie. It also gave a nod to Korean dramas about disapproving in-laws and fairy-tale like romance.
Perhaps on the surface the movie might seem like a frivolous rom-com, but I believe it can still be relatable. Having relatives play a major role in your life is also something most Asians can relate to. There’s a scene where everyone is on a huge WhatsApp group just for family. That part is all too familiar for me.
As an Asian-American I often find it difficult to find a balance between the two cultures, because when you visit family overseas they see you as a foreigner, but when you’re living in the U.S. you’re also perceived as foreigner. Learning to be comfortable in your own skin and of your heritage can be difficult growing up and I was amazed by how well they demonstrated that struggle in “Crazy Rich Asians.”
One of the most heartbreaking scenes occurs during the climax which is when Rachel apologizes to her mom for all the difficulty she went through, and her Mom states: “Don’t be sorry. You listen to me: Everything that has happened in my past life is the reason why I got you.”
If that quote doesn’t make you want to see this tear-jerker film, I don’t know what will. After all, it’s loud, it’s funny, it’s “Crazy, Rich, Asians.”