It’s 2018, and there is still an unexplored region of cinema that Hollywood can represent better: the rest of the world.
Let’s hope this can be remembered as the turning point of modern romantic comedies.
Directed by Jon M. Cho (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Now You See Me 2), Crazy Rich Asians stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan and Lisa Lu.
Based on the best-selling novel, Crazy Rich Asians follows Rachel Chu, played by Wu, as she meets her boyfriend’s intimidating family, who just so happens to be the biggest deal in all of Asia, almost like a royal family.
Looking at Cho’s directing filmography, he doesn’t really have the repertoire to back up a successful hit with critics. He can leave minds uninterested with some of his films. That said, he made an important, risky and successful decision to adapt Crazy Rich Asians.
It isn’t as if they formula has completely changed for romantic comedies. But now, the modern movie-goer can get a taste of what today’s China and Singapore are about.
Giving Hollywood the Asian treatment leaves the door open for far more films of other countries to walk in; more than we can hope for. Maybe it’s the current climate of inclusion and separation, but I’m ecstatic that American cinema and audiences are taking a chance on Crazy Rich Asians.
It’s not only the idea of more foreign countries going mainstream in film that gets me giddy for Crazy Rich Asians; the movie looks absolutely stunning. I’m shocked at how a blend of real life drone shots and computer-generated high rise parties actually make a beautiful image. It fits right in, considering the ridiculous amount of money Nick Young, played by Golding, and his family own and spend.
The money in Crazy Rich Asians has the benefit of making this genre somewhat fantastical as well.
Notting Hill meets The Great Gatsby, meets Chinese drama Love 020.
With the help of the acting, especially that of Wu, Crazy Rich Asians is held with a tight rope from flying too close to the Sun. With Fresh Off the Boat on her resume, Wu has experience working with an ensemble. She, alongside Golding, as inexperienced an actor as he is, create charming chemistry, the most essential part of a romantic comedy. Golding and Wu pull it off without being too cheesy, which could have been easy to slip into.
Crazy Rich Asians is Golding’s first big-time gig, and to have the backup of people who have worked in film before elevates him as a lead and this movie, as a whole. I was attached to all the characters, even Young’s disapproving and conservative mother.
Even though I’m Latin-American, I can compare the big Chinese family in Crazy Rich Asians to my own, letting me reflect on how much they mean to me, with all the frustration and love they cause.
Hollywood is slowly unlocking Pandora’s box to the untold traditional and modern stories from different nations. I would love to see more of this. For now, Crazy Rich Asians is a positive step to improving diversity in Hollywood.
Think about it, we’re all human. People from Niger can love the same as people from Colombia. People from Sweden can cry the same as people from Japan. Customs and cultures may differ, but there are human stories. Let’s tell them.