Review: “Crazy Rich Asians” Delivers Vibrancy and Comedy


Nellely Azpeitia and Kayla Briceño

Beautiful, vibrant, and comedic—”Crazy Rich Asians” delivered a heartfelt message and thrived to the last second. This romantic comedy based on Kevin Kwan’s novel and directed by Jon M. Chu, follows Rachel Chu, a Chinese-American professor, and Nick Young, a Chinese-Singaporean, on their relationship venture. Beginning in New York, Rachel who is already head over heels, agrees to visit Singapore with Nick for his best friend’s wedding. Rachel is nervous to finally visit Nick’s family, but ultimately believes she will be accepted; however, she is unaware that Nick derives from one of the wealthiest families in Singapore. Arriving in Singapore, after meeting Nick’s intense mother Eleanor, Rachel comes to the conclusion that she won’t be welcome in the Young family but fights for Nick regardless.

Rachel is Chinese but she is completely culture shocked by the luxurious life awaiting Nick. The movie succeeds in demonstrating Chinese culture that may be foreign to many viewers with eloquent scenes. That includes the cuisine that went beyond the homemade dumplings and included the endless variety of food exhibited at the street vendors. The music that played throughout the movie (Jasmine Chen, Grace Chang, Lilian Chen,Yao Lee) also melodically and lavishly embodied the proud and exuberant Chinese culture within each scene and setting. Finally, the mesmerizing Tan Hua flowers that come to life at night bloomed, bringing together the entire beauty and essence of the culture.

While the film radiates cultural traditions and morals, it also highlights the overall clash of identity when an Asian born in America, the land of the ambitious, meets the family members of an asian family brought up both in China and Singapore. The barriers built by Rachel and Nick’s birthplaces emphasize the cultural divide. Only a game of mahjong could help navigate a balance between their two contrasting worlds. This Chinese classic’s legacy spread past the walls of the Qing Dynasty and found its way to America. Rachel’s dignity leads her to facing Nick’s traditionalist and condescending mother; she could explain the importance of happiness and self pride and acceptance. She realizes she may not have had the same upbringing as Nick and the ancestors before him; however, all differences aside, she participates in a game of mahjong, which her mother taught her in America. Rachel does this to prove that her contrasting circumstances do not define her worth, and to explain to Nick’s mother that she cannot force his happiness by keeping him in Singapore, which made the mother question her actions.

Overall this movie is unique in the sense that its cast, who were all Asian, represented a new perspective for the film industry. The characters present both the Asian and non Asian audiences with a whirlwind of emotions and a wide spectrum of complex and elegant cultural elements throughout.