Summer box-office success “Crazy Rich Asians” released in United States theaters on August 15th, 2018. Grossing $164 million worldwide with a budget of only $30 million, it is safe to say that the movie was highly anticipated by those who read the novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan. The film’s plot depicts Rachel Chu, a talented economics professor at NYU in New York City, accompanying her boyfriend of one-year on a trip to Singapore for his close friend’s wedding. However, what Rachel does not know about her boyfriend, Nick Young, is that he comes from one of the wealthiest and most famous families in Singapore. She makes this discovery once they arrive at the airport to leave for the Asian country.
Rachel originally thought that she and Nick would be traveling in the economy class, but he arranged to fly first class. He revealed that his family lives “comfortably,” which Rachel points out that only rich people would make this statement. Upon their arrival, they are greeted by Nick’s best friend Colin and his fiancée Araminta, and the group spends the night out on the town eating all sorts of traditional Singaporean street foods. The next day, Rachel takes time for herself to reunite with her past roommate, Peik Lin, who resides in Singapore. Peik and her family’s eclectic personalities add to the movie’s comedic effect, and their screen presence keeps you drawn into the film. Once Rachel reveals Nick’s last name to Peik and her family, they all react dumbfounded and quite surprised that Rachel is dating one of the wealthiest men in the country. They immediately trash Rachel’s clothing choice for Nick’s family’s party and are quick on their feet to help her readjust her style.
Peik and Rachel arrive at the party, and Rachel is nervous yet confident in meeting Nick’s family. Even though she made a good impression with his grandmother, she realizes that his mother, Eleanor, is not too fond of her due to the fact that she is Chinese-American and was raised untraditionally by a single mother in the United States. The next day, Rachel attends Araminta’s bachelorette party which included shopping sprees and a spa. Nick’s ex-girlfriend, Amanda, also attended the bachelorette party and befriends Rachel in an attempt of underlying intimidation. Rachel is furthermore antagonized at the party by receiving a dead fish on her bed with an accusation of her “gold-digging” written on the walls. Nick’s cousin, Astrid, comforts her to make her feel less targeted. Rachel continues on with her head held high regardless of the attacks on her.
Nick later apologizes for being so secretive about his true wealth, and he takes her to make dumplings with his family. Eleanor continues to successfully undermine Rachel, and she is quickly losing her confidence. Peik saves the day by encouraging Rachel to strut into the wedding proudly and looking more beautiful than ever to prove herself to his mother. After undergoing a second makeover with Peik and another relative of Nick’s, she attends the wedding and leaves the other attendees jaw-dropped from her beauty.
During the reception, Eleanor reveals Rachel’s true backstory to her and Nick. I do not plan on spoiling the entire backstory of Rachel, but I will say that Rachel’s mother lied to her about her true father. Eleanor states how detrimental Rachel’s family issues are to the family name and how the press would have a field day with the story. In hysterics, Rachel leaves the wedding and ceases all contact with Nick. Even though it seems the movie ends horribly, Nick chooses to leave family traditions and pursues Rachel with a proposal despite the family differences.
The plot of this movie was very similar to the novel, but some of the subplots in the film differed from the novel which isn’t necessarily a negative thing. I was afraid this movie would feature undesired racial stereotypes that tend to be used in some films, but I was definitely proved wrong once I watched it in the theater. “Crazy Rich Asians” represented the pressure of family traditions and social classes very well, and this made it easy to relate to without bringing up any offense. With a perfect balance of comedy, drama, and a happy ending, I could not recommend this movie enough to any skeptics.