Movie Review: Crazy Rich Asians

Movie Review: “Crazy Rich Asians”

Possible spoilers ahead!

With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 92% and an audience score of 80%, how could I resist going to see this movie? What really tipped the scale was the review of a Facebook friend who himself is an immigrant from an Asian country. He holds an advanced degree in theology, and said that it was one of the best new films he’d seen in a long time. It was worth a shot in my book.

“Crazy Rich Asians” has all the big themes: Love, family, loyalty, a few mentions of faith, and yes, money, lots and lots of money. “Crazy Rich Asians” is the story of Rachel Chu, an economics professor at NYU, and Nick Young, who you might say has a few secrets in their relationship. Rachel and Nick have seemingly been dating for a while, and alluded to living together, and they’ve just decided to go together to Nick’s best friend’s wedding back home in Singapore. She will also be meeting her boyfriend’s family while there. Meeting the significant other’s family for the first time can be stressful for anyone, it might be more stressful when the family home is valued at $200 million, has armed guards with “knife guns”, and a large, dead stuffed tiger greets you as you walk in the front door. The tiger is an apt analogy for Nick’s mom, and what Rachel will have to stare down as she meets the rest of the family.

This isn’t exactly the story of Cinderella. Rachel gets no special, magical aid in dealing with Nick’s family and their suspicion of her, she has a few friends and allies, but it is ultimately up to her to win them over. The movie starts with a lesson in game theory, and she tells her students, after beating a student in poker, “he lost because he was playing to not lose, he wasn’t playing to win.” Rachel has to go through despair, more than once, before she takes her own advice and plays to win.

I liked the movie, I would even watch it again, and sincerely await to see the sequel. And with the movie crossing $170 million in domestic box office earnings, I suspect the sequel will be approved soon. I have a soft spot for movies with a heroine who can stare down her enemies. I especially enjoyed how real they made her low points, a welcome touch to not montage through the tears. Overall, the criticisms I would give are criticisms of any modern romantic comedy. The love is lacking the depth and certainly the authentic commitment of a Catholic audience, and not many of the party antics were something to approve of. For those reasons, it may not be a family-friendly movie although it is rated PG13.

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