Lavish rom-com feast
Crazy Rich Asians Stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh Director Jon M Chu
It’s incredibly important to recognise that Crazy Rich Asians is the first major contemporary Hollywood release since The Joy Luck Club in 1993 to feature a predominantly Asian cast. There has been much furore in the film world over the lack of diversity in movies and the Asian community has been one of the most slighted.
Crazy Rich Asians is also one of the best romantic comedies in general to come along in years. The movie could have as easily been called Sleepless in Singapore, as there has not been a romantic comedy this good since Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan stole our hearts.
The girl in this wonderful boy-loves-girl tale is New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an accomplished and confident college professor. The boy is Nick Young (Henry Golding), who invites Rachel to go with him to Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding. What she doesn’t know is Nick is part of one of the wealthiest families in Asia, and they are not open to outsiders coming into their world. Rachel becomes the target of family members who don’t see her as worthy, and jealous women who want to take her place. Attacks from all sides leave Rachel not only doubting her relationship with Nick but also herself.
The movie is filled with elements that make it both romantic and fun but it all boils down to the chemistry between Rachel and Nick. If Wu and Golding can’t make the audience believe they are in love, the highs and lows will not be strong enough to earn an emotional investment.
Chu brings recognition for her work on the TV series Fresh Off the Boat, where she is a strong and dominating presence. Her character in Crazy Rich Asians starts strong but is worn down by the constant flow of negativity. Her ability to show both the pain of rejection and the determination to be herself no matter what others think establishes a strong half for the romantic equation.
Under Chu’s guidance, Crazy Rich Asians finds the exact blend to make this not only a milestone production in diversity, but a film that’s got all the elements to be universally entertaining.
Nico Santos as Oliver, Constance Wu as Rachel and Koh Chieng Mun as Neenah.