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Crazy Rich Asians

Opening Date
22 Aug 2018
PG13 Some Coarse Language
121 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Jon M. Chu
Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh
“Crazy Rich Asians” follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother (Yeoh) taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can’t buy love, it can definitely complicate things.
By Jason Lin  22 Aug 2018
Crazy Rich Asians presents an exclusive insight into the realm of excessive luxury empowered by obscene wealth and the woes that it brings about.
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While the Western audience celebrates Crazy Rich Asians as the only Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast ensemble since The Joy Luck Club 25 years ago, it is more relevant to steer away from the foreign perspective of Singapore and Asians in general.
The authenticity is regrettably myopic, but it is understandable as Singaporean author Kevin Kwan, the creator of the 2013 hit novel of the same title, intends to introduce Singapore and contemporary Asians to North Americans. Never mind the loose definition and portrayal of Asians in an adaptation that is made by Asians not for Asians, the discussion might be better spent on the film’s core narrative and thematic values.
One of the best things that happened to Crazy Rich Asians is the engagement of Adele Lim, who grew up in Malaysia - a similar cultural environment, to co-write and adapt for the silver screen. References can be picked up throughout the film, although local viewers could crave for more authentic and colloquial conversations.
There is an iconic scene where Nick Young (Henry Golding) and Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) make Chinese dumplings at the dining table with the Young family and relatives. It is a simple, yet effective traditional Chinese routine that symbolises strong family bonding. A confrontational scene between Rachel and her boyfriend’s dragon mother Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh) over a game of mahjong is yet another cultural element that is a rarely seen in Hollywood films.
Despite coming across as a film that discusses Asian values, it is however not the key highlight to take home. Instead, Crazy Rich Asians presents an exclusive insight into the realm of excessive luxury empowered by obscene wealth and the woes that it brings about.
Being a proud and privileged member of the wealthy elites, Eleanor stands by the need to be good enough. What would one bring to the table? The transactional nature of this elite circle defines and predetermines one’s worth through a vicious cycle of social class division.
This is primarily illustrated through Nick and Rachel’s romantic adventure, which is interestingly dotted with dynamic and colourful scenes of Singapore’s famous cityscape and food (satay at Lau Pat Sat). It is also subtly hinted in the backdrop narrative of Nick’s cousin Astrid (Gemma Chan) who is facing marriage troubles due to the stark income gap between Astrid and her husband Michael (Pierre Png). A pity that Astrid’s story doesn’t go any further as Chan brings magnetic screen presence as a poise lady who struggles to balance between her riches and romance.
It might be an insane life that many could be dreaming to have, but wealth often shrouds one’s perspective and priorities in life. Nick’s character reminds us on the simple pleasures in life that one should treasure and appreciate, instead of following the footsteps of Crazy Rich Asians to indulge in and become obsessed with guilty pleasures in life.
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