I caved again and watched a movie based on a book – without having read the book – and once again, really enjoyed. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I loved Crazy Rich Asians!
Based on the book by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of Rachel Chu, an economics professor who takes a trip to Singapore to attend her boyfriend Nick’s, best friend’s wedding. While there, she’s going to meet Nick’s family for the first time and finds out they’re filthy rich and extremely powerful. Struggling to fit in with the socialites and squirming under the judgment of Nick’s mother, Rachel wonders if she’ll ever measure up.
Even though I don’t read contemporary romances, I’m a big fan of romantic comedy movies. The secretly rich boyfriend (slash, boyfriend is actually royalty) trope is totally one I’m into. Rachel manages to pull off a mostly endearing mix of staying true to herself and being awkwardly adorable around Nick’s large and very rich family. There are certainly some painful moments where Rachel was simply too awkward for me, but those come with pretty much every rom-com.
The cast really made this movie. It was refreshing to see an almost entirely Asian cast and, as the rest of the internet will tell you, it’s been about 25 years or something since the last mainstream release with a predominantly cast. I mean, I think you’d have to be insane to try to sell a white-washed version of this movie, but I wouldn’t put it past Hollywood (looking at you, Matt Damon movie about the Great Wall and dragons…) Also, most of the cast is incredibly good-looking. Yes, this is a super shallow thing to say, but if you have eyes, it’s hard to miss! Rachel is friggen adorable, okay!?
This movie hit all the marks for me:
+ It was funny – my friend and I laughed steadily throughout (see also her post about why this movie is important)
+ It was romantic – Nick is super cute with Rachel and while there was a ‘misunderstanding’ scene they avoided making him act like a dink
+ It was exotic and visually stunning – I’m head over heels for the bold, bright color palette and the graphic design used for the opening and closing credits
+ It had just enough tension/serious moments
+ There was a clothing montage – another of my favorite tropes
+ There were occasional subtitles
+ The supporting cast was pretty well fleshed-out – Awkwafina killed it as Peik Lin and was by far my favorite character; also, her wardrobe was a riot
+ The soundtrack is awesome – I’m listening to it right now! Some of my faves are Wo Yao Ni De Ai, Money, Yellow, and Material Girl
+ It had a happy ending – I mean, that’s like a requirement for romcoms, but for a moment I was unsure because I know nothing about the plot of the books
I highly, highly recommend this movie if you’re at all a fan of rom-coms! We need to continue to support well-made, diverse films! I can’t wait to watch this one again – I definitely plan to own it.
As for the books – I’m not sure if I’ll read them any time soon. Scandalous, I know! Here’s the thing – I worry they won’t be as funny as the movie and while I know it’s more in-depth, I rather like the way the story played out in the movie. Not to mention, it seems there’s already a sequel in the works. Maybe I’ll watch all the films before reading all the books. Who knows!?
*image from the official site