Why the new rom­com is the must-see movie of the year

Heat (UK) - - Deap Heat - Shereen Low

Take two like­able leads: a dash­ingly hand­some guy, and a pretty-butre­lat­able girl. Add in a ta­ble­spoon of chem­istry, a touch of drama and a dol­lop of love be­fore fin­ish­ing off with a smat­ter­ing of laughs and you’ve got all the in­gre­di­ents for a smash­hit ro­man­tic com­edy.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good rom­com – and by that

we mean a really good one, in the same league as When Harry Met Sally or Sleep­less In Seat­tle, or game-chang­ers such as Brid­get Jones’s Di­ary, Crazy

Stupid Love and The Pro­posal. Well, it’s time to make way for your next rom­com obsession, be­cause Crazy Rich Asians is not only a bril­liantly funny, ground­break­ing film, but it’s been a huge suc­cess, too – the se­quel has al­ready been green lit.

The Cin­derella-style story of Con­stance Wu and Henry Gold­ing as lovers Rachel Chu and Nick Young, whose re­la­tion­ship gets tested when they head to Sin­ga­pore for a friend’s wed­ding, has been a word-of-mouth hit since it opened last month, bank­ing over $100m world­wide and gar­ner­ing fa­mous fans such as Chrissy Teigen, who de­clared it “won­der­ful”. heat’s res­i­dent

film ex­pert Charles Gant ex­plains, “There hasn’t been a hit ro­man­tic com­edy movie fea­tur­ing new char­ac­ters in ages.

Crazy Rich Asians is really a clas­sic story of so­cial dif­fer­ence, of love clash­ing with no­tions of fam­ily duty and so­cial hi­er­ar­chy tra­di­tion: it’s Jane Austen. But for Jane Austen to be cred­i­ble in 2018, it helps to have a so­ci­ety un­fa­mil­iar to most au­di­ences.”

Di­verse bril­liance

Fol­low­ing 2016’s #Os­carssowhite scan­dal, di­ver­sity in Hol­ly­wood has been a hot topic. Many peo­ple have pointed out that cast­ing ac­tors from dif­fer­ent cul­tural back­grounds in ma­jor roles not only acts as an in­spi­ra­tion to chil­dren of im­mi­grant fam­i­lies – who haven’t been used to see­ing peo­ple who look like them on­screen – it also re­flects the more di­verse so­ci­eties we ac­tu­ally live in.

Since then, we’ve had the Academy Award-win­ning

Moon­light and Marvel’s Black Pan­ther, and now Crazy Rich Asians (re­fer­ring to east Asians rather than those of In­dian ori­gin), which has the first all-asian cast in a Hol­ly­wood movie since 1993’s Joy Luck

Club. Fa­mil­iar names such as Michelle Yeoh (Crouch­ing Tiger), Ken Jeong (The

Han­gover films) and Gemma Chan (Hu­mans) share screen time with tal­ented new­com­ers, in­clud­ing Ocean’s Eight’s Awk­wa­fina. But, as Romesh Ran­ganathan pointed out in The

Guardian re­cently, it’s all well and good hav­ing di­verse casts, but the most im­por­tant thing is that th­ese films are ac­tu­ally good. For­tu­nately, CR A, based on Kevin Kwan’s 2013 best­selling novel, is bril­liant – and it doesn’t rely on lazy stereo­types. Sure, there’s a “tiger mom”, but don’t most mums just want the best for their sons? The vast ar­ray of kooky char­ac­ters and larger-than-life per­son­al­i­ties por­trayed in the film en­sure that their back­grounds are the last thing on the view­ers’ minds.

Re­boot­ing the rom­com

CR A has been ap­plauded for breath­ing new life into the rom­com while tick­ing all the genre’s tra­di­tional boxes.

Hand­some lead Nick has a touch of Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy about him, par­tic­u­larly in one scene where he helps peo­ple put their suit­cases in the lug­gage rack on a plane while des­per­ately try­ing to speak to his girl­friend. Both Nick and Rachel come from op­pos­ing back­grounds, too – while Nick is su­per-wealthy (he’s re­ferred to as the “Prince Wil­liam of Asia”) and was for­merly the re­gion’s most el­i­gi­ble bach­e­lor, Rachel has work­ing-class roots. Surely their love can tran­scend their dif­fer­ences?

Charles Gant says, “Th­ese char­ac­ters are easy to care about and root for. Fall­ing in love with a guy who’s se­cretly a prince more or less – it’s a fan­tasy, but one the movie makes us be­lieve in.” Along with Rachel and Nick’s sup­port­ive friends, who help pro­vide the laughs, and a Han­gover-style stag do, there are enough lay­ers to keep you in­vested in the char­ac­ters.

fierce fe­males

There’s a strong fem­i­nist tone through­out, with plenty of po­ten­tial role mod­els. Brought up by her sin­gle mum – who taught her to fol­low her pas­sion and be in­de­pen­dent – Rachel isn’t some in­sipid, sub­mis­sive girl who is re­liant on her boyfriend. She’s a suc­cess­ful eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor at NYU who barely no­tices her fi­ancé’s wealth. “I had no idea. You use my Net­flix pass­word!” she tells him.

When Nick’s fam­ily tries to shame her for be­ing am­bi­tious, Rachel doesn’t sim­per qui­etly, she rises above it, as she does with the mean girls’ bul­ly­ing. But the award for best fe­male char­ac­ter has to go to Peik Lin Goh (played by rap­per Awk­wa­fina), Rachel’s straight-talk­ing and hi­lar­i­ously ec­cen­tric BFF, who helps her pal nav­i­gate the up­per ech­e­lons of Sin­ga­pore’s high so­ci­ety and sticks by her through ev­ery­thing.

An awe­some cast, killer script and a cen­tral cou­ple you gen­uinely root for – really, what’s not to love?

Awk­wa­fina: “What’s that? I’m awe­some in this movie?”

#Wed­ding goals

Nice jacket, Ken Jeong

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