Crazy Rich Asians comes out Wednesday, August 15, and stands to be the blockbuster of the summer. Based off the book of the same name, by Kevin Kwan, the movie follows the story of Nick Young (Henry Golding) and Rachel Chu (Constance Wu). Nick is part of one of the richest families in Singapore, probably also the world, but he has neglected to tell his girlfriend, Rachel, this. Chaos ensues when he brings her to Singapore to meet his family for the first time, and for his best friend’s wedding – which is set to be the Asian version of a royal wedding. As shocked as Rachel is to find out that her boyfriend is rich, his family is just as shocked to find that Nick would bring home someone of such low standing.
This movie has all the tentpoles of a summer hit flick. It is glamorous, with the most gorgeous sets, scenery, costumes, and people. It’s got the light and bubbly feel of a standard romantic comedy, but with enough of a twist to make it fresh and interesting. After all, most romantic comedies start with two people who aren’t together yet, but decide to live happily ever after by the end of the film. This one is different since the couple are already together, and whether they live happily ever after is not their choice, but Nick’s family’s. The verbal sparring we see between Rachel and Nick’s mom, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), in the trailer should be enough to get people in the theater. They are both quick witted, strong women, unwilling to back down. The performance of Awkwafina as Goh Peik Lin, Rachel’s Singaporean best friend, has also been much lauded, as she eggs Rachel on, and is spot on in her comedic timing. Critics seem to agree, with the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score currently being at 100% fresh.
This movie is also significant for another reason. It’s the first all Asian cast to come out of Hollywood since The Joy Club (1993). If that seems crazy, that’s because it is. Kwan has actually told reporters that he fielded early offers that wanted to turn Rachel, an Asian American, white. One producer actually said, “It’s a pity you don’t have a white character.” Kwan finally sold the rights for one dollar, in exchange for being allowed to be involved with the decisions for the film.
How is it different from the book? Well, the story is definitely tighter, some sub-plots being cut out. However, you can also see a change in the way some of the characters are played. Rachel is much sassier, and with a lot more agency, than she has in the books, where she is rather passive. In the trailer, when Rachel asks Nick if his family is rich, as they’re being seated in first class, he says, “we’re comfortable.” “That’s exactly what a super rich person would say,” she responds. We also see her standing up to Nick’s mother much more than in the books. If I haven’t made it clear, I like this new Rachel. Peik Lin is also written as much more comic relief than she is in the books, with Awkwafina giving her signature flair.
Go see the movie when it comes out! It’s going to fun, glamorous, funny, and totally crazy.
To watch the official trailer, click here.