I laughed, I cried, I felt inspired
Crazy Rich Asians.
Oh. My. God.
I left the theater with eyes so puffy I scared myself in the bathroom mirror. This movie was everything I hoped for, and so much more. As an A̶s̶i̶a̶n̶-̶A̶m̶e̶r̶i̶c̶a̶n̶ Chinese-American, for the first time, I felt seen. I looked up at the big screen and saw people who look like me and speak the languages I speak. But beyond that, it was an understanding of my mixed cultural identity - of values, of family, and the hardships of being both Chinese and American, living on fringe of two worlds.
THE SIGNIFICANCE I've never been so proud to be Chinese-American. For an American film to capture this identity and tell this contemporary story with so much authenticity and integrity to an audience who hasn't seen many Asians in mainstream media is a revolution. It's significant to a generation of Asian-American immigrants who have stories to tell, cracking the door open for us to finally have a change onstage. And I'm so happy it's proved to Hollywood that diversity and representation sells.
THE MOVIE I've never read the book(s), but I expected the movie to be another stereotypical rich family drama unrequited love story, just with Asians. Except this film, as a romantic comedy, DELIVERED. The comedic versus dramatic timing was perfect, and the full ensemble of brilliantly cast characters carried on the story without skipping a beat. Every scene either had me laughing my ass off (at stereotypical rich people problems or hilarious minor characters) or crying my eyes out (the heart-wrenching family scenes, the dramatic wedding scene, THE MAHJONG SCENE, during which I cried so hard I couldn't breathe and had to very loudly hiccup for air). The multi-generational cast and storyline digs deep into Asian traditions of family and filial piety, opening up a conversation we've always wanted to have as culturally-mixed Asian-Americans. (That dumpling scene was significant in highlighting the importance of family traditions, even in the lives of the filthy rich.) The Chinese pop music had me feeling all the feels down to my very roots, and the diversity of accents and dialects in both English and (translated and untranslated) Chinese was so real and so wonderfully depicted. And the cinematography/production design - it was a beautiful love letter to Singapore and culture so rich.
STRONG FEMALE LEADS Yes, Rachel and Nick were the romantic leads, but their character development was somewhat stagnant and predictable. However, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) and Astrid (Gemma Chan) brought the story to a whole other level. As much as Eleanor was portrayed to be the "villain" in the movie, her character is so multi-faceted and phenomenal. She was Rachel in her earlier years and faces the same judgment she passes to Rachel from her own mother-in-law. That's another amazing story right there. And Astrid - the ultimate beautiful and strong woman character we can only look up to and aspire to be. Her story is so inspiring and I can't wait for her to come back in the sequel(s).
ASIANS IN THE SPOTLIGHT Seeing so many Asian-American actors I already love and support (Constance Wu, Jimmy O. Yang, Michelle Yeoh, even Harry Shum Jr. and Kina Grannis) made my heart full, but I'm so happy they decided to introduce a new generation of Asian actors to hop into the spotlight. I cannot wait to see Gemma Chan, Henry Golding, and Awkwafina kill it in their careers.
THANK YOU Kevin Kwan, Jon M. Chu, Warner Bros, cast, crew for kicking off this revolution in the most authentic and amazing way. For showing Hollywood that Asians are good enough to play the romantic leads, the comedic leads, and the villains, but most importantly, allowing all of us the chance to show the world how fugging proud we are to be Asian-American.