Crazy Rich Asians (2018)


Reviewed by Ian Baxley

Crazy Rich Asians is the newest film by director Jon Chu.  The film follows Rachel, on a journey out of her comfort zone to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family; all of which are well...crazy rich Asians.  For one DKA member, the film “easily joins The Big Sick as the definitive romcom of the decade”.  For some, that statement might mean very little as romcoms aren't exactly the most respected genre.  So what makes Crazy Rich Asians stand out from the sea of straight to DVD and Lifetime films?  Very little. Crazy Rich Asians takes only small steps away from traditional romcom tropes...but still represents a huge step forward.  It’s impossible to discuss this film without discussing its effect on Asian representation in film, but before diving into that, it’s important to acknowledge what this movie does well on a pure filmmaking level  Members of DKA responded to the film’s “good writing, even though it was a feel-good rom-com.” Another DKA called it “a confident, breezy romp that’s much more thoughtful than the typical romance flick.” Many DKA’s also raved about the production design and aesthetic of the film. “Amazing. Evocative. Swoon-worthy” were just a couple words used to describe the film’s visuals.  

But perhaps most important is the film’s Asian representation, a race notoriously wronged by Hollywood.  From Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961, to 16 Candles 1984, to even 2017’s Ghost in the Shell, Hollywood hasn’t exactly been kind to Asians.  While one film will never make up for years of misrepresentation, Crazy Rich Asians takes steps in the right direction, and a huge part of that is how the film never harps on its majority Asian cast.  “Characters weren't tokenized just because they were [people of color] like most [people of color] movies do”. While many (including myself) would have preferred a story more uniquely Asian and rebellious, I must admit Crazy Rich Asians is a step towards something potentially greater than revolution, normalcy.  The film never draws too much attention to its cast, it treats itself as just another rom-com.  The film promotes true equality and chooses to exist in a world where races don’t have to fight for representation in film, a world where film is simply reflective of American society: multicultural.