About the film
Director: Jon M. Chu
Actors: Constance Wu, Henry GoldingThis film is going off and damn if it doesn’t live up to its title.
"Crazy Rich Asians" adapted from Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel of the same name (which birthed a trilogy — hello, future film sequels) and directed by Asian-American filmmaker Jon M. Chu is the first contemporary English-language Hollywood movie with an almost all-Asian cast in a quarter-century (the last was 1993’s The Joy Luck Club).
At the heart of the story are Nick (Henry Golding) and Rachel (played by Fresh Off the Boat star Constance Wu), a couple of university professors living in New York. Nick comes from an insanely wealthy family, of which the lovely Rachel is completely unaware of. Nick invites Rachel to accompany him to Singapore for the wedding of a friend at which Nick is to be Best Man. And of course, Nick wants Rachel to finally meet his family. And oh what a family.
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.
It’s got hints of Cinderella and even a touch of Jane Austen here too — especially stories like Pride and Prejudice and Emma, which explore class in the midst of a swoony, clever romance. And those pieces share DNA with movies like Pretty in Pink, in which the spunky, self-assured heroine finds her own way in the world, and finds love in the process.
This is a film that delights in the nuances of wealth, prestige and lineage. It is keen not just of class structures, of the glaring gap between the new rich, represented here by the gaudy family of Rachel’s best friend Peik Lin (Awkwafina), and the old rich, represented by the Youngs, but also of the silent prejudices that exist among them.
It’s got a terrific cast, glamorous locations, witty jokes, and a story with a lot of heart. A feast for the eyes and ears.