We are nearing the end of our #30daysoftravelthroughcinema, and I am sad to see it end. I hope you are enjoying our armchair trip around the world.
Today we are traveling to Singapore to discuss the 2018 film “Crazy Rich Asians.” In all honesty, I struggled to decide if I should include this story in our film series because of the controversial criticism it received. I discussed the film at length with several friends over the decision. However, due to its importance in the history of the American film industry and my personal reasons for liking the storytelling aspect, I decided to include it.
The film is based on the #1 New York Times bestselling novel of the same name written by Kevin Kwan. The novel was adapted to film by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim and directed by Jon M.Chu. Rotten Tomatoes gives “Crazy Rich Asians,” a 91% critics score and a 76% audience score stating, “it soon becomes clear that while money can’t buy love, it can definitely complicate things.” However, it did make film history by being the first Hollywood production to have an all- Asian cast that is not a period piece in over twenty-five years. Although there is much controversy over the historical significance of the story to the film industry: extreme wealth and luxurious lifestyle, the classic tale of young love amid family complications, is quite relatable regardless of whether you are dating a closet millionaire or not.
Native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is an economics professor at New York University who travels with her boyfriend of a year to meet his family and to attend a family wedding in Singapore. Upon arrival, she discovers that her boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), is the heir to his wealthy family’s real estate company and one of the most eligible bachelor’s in Singapore. She also meets Nick’s disapproving family. Throughout her trip, there are many moments of testing for Rachel and Nick and they both discover who they are.
Shot entirely on location in Singapore including Langkawi, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur. One of the main reasons I included this film is the basic storyline is universal. Meaning storytelling can unite us all regardless of culture, socioeconomic status, or family relations. Though this film is far from perfect it is has a wonderful cast, it was filmed in a beautiful location, and the basic story of not fitting into your boyfriend’s world is something most girls have experienced. I also like that the film focused on “powerful women at its center” who stand up for themselves.
The timeless tale of a mother not approving of her son’s girlfriend is a highly relatable aspect of the story. You would think that Nick’s mother and family would welcome Rachel with open arms knowing her son has a highly educated, loving girlfriend who has a wonderful relationship with her single mother.
I can assure you Rachel’s situation is not unique: it is the same on this side of the ocean as well.