Now that it’s almost end of the year, it’s a great time to reminisce on the year that was, especially in the movie industry. By and large, there were plenty of impressive cuts.
In particular, one movie stood out. Crazy Rich Asians is a Cinderella story, with a twist of its own. For one, the move was the first Hollywood movie that predominantly featured Asian-American and Asian cast in a quarter century. The last film to do so was The Joy Luck Club which made its cinema debut in 1993.
Amazingly, the Crazy Rich Asians went on to notch impressive numbers, to the scale of $237 million worldwide box office sales. In addition to that feat, the movie has become the highest selling romantic comedy over the last 10 years.
The film’s storyline is quite impressive too. The movie shows the life of an uber-rich and precious Young family, with the storyline centering on Rachel Chu. As the script goes, the lady happens to be dating the heir apparent to the family’s vast riches.
From an outside perspective, this simply looks like the standard romantic-comedy setup. With some upper-crust cherry on top. However, this movie is a watershed moment since it’s the very first time that Asian-American and Asian people have been depicted in this manner in all the years of Hollywood production.
Incidentally, critics have been quick to dismiss the movie as pure fantasy. Why? Because the movie overly emphasizes on the affluence bit to talk to the masses about diversity. For many, it would make more sense if the lives of common Asian and Asian-American people were in full display.
Despite what the naysayers believe, it’s safe to say that the movie packs a mean punch. Sufficient enough to tear down the walls and barriers in society. If affluence talk isn’t for you, then, it’s perhaps a good idea to simply ignore that bit of the storyline.
Crazy Rich Asians works it’s magic in telling the somewhat relatable story of a Young billionaire family. even with its unostentatious $30 million budget, the movie still delivers quite a treat. With Wakanda-esque vibes.
There’s a wide array of condos and homes for Eleanor Young to show off a piece of lavish aura. Even in the kitchen, she’s spotted donning Valentino and massive bejeweled rings, the size of meteorites. All from her personal Yeoh Collection.
Surprisingly, the story seems to borrow a leaf from Greek mythology and superhero tales when Peik Lin and Nick Young explain to all and sundry how the family fortune came to be. In a way, this may not necessarily appeal to ordinary folk.
A life of luxury is the key selling point here. With Rachel seen as an outsider, Eleanor is hellbent on shielding her son Nick and their massive wealth from her. At this point, the famous director, Jon M. Chu, turns on the fireworks. He’s able to intricately tell the story of how Rachel’s laid-back demeanor allows her to walk away from a life of riches. In essence, this makes for good fodder among viewers.
As described by Emily Yoshida in her Vulture review, the director was compelled to take this route because not many people are interested in learning about the happenings of Asian people without the injection of affluence in the storyline.
Typically, Hollywood directors tend to use this particular tactic when crafting their films in a bid to sell to the masses. Most famously, Tony Stark’s vast wealth and tech know-how in Iron Man helped propel a B-List comic hero into an A-list celebrity. It’s little wonder that the movie was picked to lead off the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The film 50 Shades of Grey also heavily invested in Christian Grey’s wealthy status. Viewers seemed to be enticed by Grey’s power to command submissiveness, but, make no mistake, the key selling point was the lavish lifestyle that was attached to the string.
During the opening scene in Crazy Rich Asians, the film shows a British setup where staff members start by treating Eleanor as a reject in society. The implication being that they couldn’t possibly fathom a rich Asian family being able to afford the perks that came with affluence. At one point, they even resort to telling her to go to Chinatown. Smartly, the director makes sure that Eleanor is able to exert her revenge with the revelation that she was in fact, not a pauper.
Crazy Rich Asians will probably live long in the minds of viewers because it showed a glimpse of the humanity in Asians. A niche which has rarely been explored before in Hollywood films. A sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and a new romantic comedy set to hit Netflix will only further cement the fact that Hollywood is indeed changing.