The premise of Crazy Rich Asians is that of anyone’s wildest dreams: the incredible guy that you are dating turns out to be part of one of the wealthiest families on earth and he also happens to be Asia’s most eligible bachelor. The film follows Rachel Chu (played by Constance Wu), a young economics professor at NYU, and Nick Young (portrayed by first-time actor Henry Golding), as they navigate relationship issues blown out of proportion by the secret world of Asia’s richest. They deal with very relatable issues – trying to get your family-in-law to like you – and the less common ones – like having to marry into the right family to protect your wealth.
The film delivers everything you want from a romantic comedy: the gorgeous cast, the intense love story and the lavish settings. Every single character has very distinctive personalities, and even though the cast is big, you never feel as if you’re watching the same people and the same relationships. Every story that is played out deserves your attention and because the film sometimes moves away from Rachel’s and Nick’s love story, we get a dynamic and continuously interesting film.
Speaking of the cast, every single actor and actress delivers a stand-out performance and especially Henry Golding, who incredibly having never acted before in his life, stands his ground amongst veterans like Michelle Yeoh (who is amazing in her role of Nick’s mother, Eleanor). Especially in Hollywood, where the stories of white people are usually the only ones being told, this new perspective on romance and relationships from a different side of the world is incredibly beautiful to watch.
Additionally, the film visually stuns. It is colourful, beautifully shot and is a breath of fresh air in the endless sea of romantic comedies set in New York and London. The director Jon M. Chu perfectly balances the story and the visuals and his skill and perfectionism are noticeable in every scene.
Although the story is very satisfying in a lot of ways, the film does suffer from the usual predictability of romantic comedies. The stakes in the relationship between Rachel and Nick never feel very high and they are so certain of their love for each other that you never really question whether they end up together or not. The tension never truly builds and the climax, therefore, feels like a given and not a surprising plot twist.
That being said, the film is as cheesy, beautiful and romantic as you want a romantic comedy to be and it feels like a return to the days where romance films were actually good and not another retelling of the exact same story with the exact same characters. It is dynamic, entertaining and throughout the entire film, stays faithful to the book by Kevin Kwan, something any avid reader can appreciate. Walking out of the cinema, you feel happy and in love with nothing in particular, and that is exactly what a romantic comedy should make you feel.
REELculture. rating: 4 stars