Written by Yagmur Ozmen |
Do you know the feeling when you watch a really impressive film and can’t stop thinking about it?
That’s exactly how I felt once I’d watched Crazy Rich Asians. That was last week. I have been waiting for this film for months. For years. I’ve been waiting for this film ever since I was in my mother’s womb. And it has everything to do with Constance Wu, who I have loved ever since I watched the first episode of ‘Fresh off the Boat’. It is because of her that I came to be obsessed with this film before its release. Well, her and the fact that I was positively astounded by the all-Asian cast.
“I’ve been waiting for this film ever since I was in my mother’s womb.”
Representation in Hollywood, or lack thereof, is an important subject, therefore I appreciate the times that it’s taken seriously. It’s easy to watch a foreign film from China, Japan or South Korea with English subtitles, but when an all Asian-cast film comes out of Hollywood, it’s a big deal. Western audiences are not accustomed to watching movies where at least half of the actors are Asian, let alone a film where the entire cast is Asian. It’s similar to the story of ‘Wonder Woman’: when Gal Gadot’s solo film ‘Wonder Woman’ was released, women and girls all over the world were overjoyed to see themselves in a strong superhero who happened to be the lead of the film. This time, Asians had the opportunity to recognise themselves in Crazy Rich Asians.
“From whitewashing to the lack of proper representation in films, Crazy Rich Asians turned Hollywood on its head, with booming box office sales.”
From whitewashing to the lack of proper representation in films, Crazy Rich Asians turned Hollywood on its head with booming box office sales. There is a little bit of everything for everyone in the film: Single mothers and the powerful bond with their daughters; funny, yet embarrassing parents and how you have the chance to choose your family. Sometimes true love conquers all, and it’s not a wife’s duty to make her husband feel like a man.
For those who are not aware of the premise, the film follows Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she flies to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family, who happen to be the richest family in Singapore. Unaware of her boyfriend’s status, she feels like an outcast receiving no help whatsoever from the people surrounding her boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding).
Even from the first scene, the film is filmed and edited brilliantly, making it so fun to watch. There were only a handful of people at the Cinema, and I was the most excited person in there; you could tell from my excited yelp during the opening credits and from my loud laughter.
People want to recognise themselves in films and this is the right way to do it. Rachel Chu – an obvious outcast in the film feels inadequate for her boyfriend and his family – which a lot of people can relate to. Noticing Rachel’s inability to fit in reminds the audience that everyone’s had moments like that; whether it be in relationships, with family, friends or simply in life.
Constance Wu gives a highly impressive performance and manages to make her mark amongst plenty of brilliant actors (such as Ken Jeong, Gemma Chan and Michelle Yeoh). I like to give credit where credit is due, and I think an underrated character in the film happened to be Goh Peik Lin, played by Awkwafina. She was quite ground breaking in Oceans 8, but in Crazy Rich Asians she brought laughter to everyone at the cinema (mostly me) with her witty remarks. She played the supportive best friend who even managed to out-shine Constance Wu in certain scenes.
Crazy Rich Asians is a feel-good, heart-warming film about family, love, passion, forgiveness and tradition. But most of all, it’s about money. And Luxury. From the dresses to the cars to the houses filled with gold, this film is about the lavish lives of crazy and rich Asians. It was aesthetically pleasing to watch. The silk sheets, private helicopter with the leather seats to the beautiful scenery.
“Crazy Rich Asians presented us- somewhat ironically- that maybe it doesn’t matter how much money you have in your bank account”
Sometimes—it’s certainly rare, but sometimes love does manage to overthrow the amount of money someone can have. Crazy Rich Asians presented us- somewhat ironically- with the idea that maybe it doesn’t matter how much money you have in your bank account. Nick Young is a perfect example of this when he’s prepared to prioritise his girlfriend, Rachel, over his family. Or how Rachel isn’t fazed by how much money Nick has – as long as he’s honest with her – even though his family seems to sabotage their relationship (by placing a dead fish on her bed with the words “Gold digging bitch” sprayed on the wall didn’t help their relationship). It taught us that mothers always want what’s best for their children, even if it’s not noticeable at first.
Hollywood has a long way to go when it comes to representation. But, I think what may seem like a small thing, is actually a milestone. Crazy Rich Asians is evidence that audiences in the 21st Century find films like this refreshing. And by that I mean it’s great when films aren’t whitewashed (shout out to Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale in ‘Exodus’, who portrayed Ramesses II and Moses). Either way, I know for a fact that it will be ages before I forget about Crazy Rich Asians and the actual Asian actors cast in the film.