Movie Review | Crazy Rich Asians
Movie summary: This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend's family. (IMDb)
A week later than planned, but I finally got to see it and I can happily report that the weight was definitely worth it. Romantic comedy isn't my favourite type of movie at all, but I absolutely got caught up in these characters' lives and was utterly invested in what happened to them by the end.
And it is the characters that make this film so great, especially the supporting cast. The leading couple, Constance Wu and Henry Golding as Rachel Chu and Nick Young respectively, are really great in their roles too, but their story plays out a little too predictably to make them stand out.
However, as with my praise for Christian Bale and Chadwick Boseman as Batman and Black Panther, the central couple form the solid spine of the film that allows the larger than life characters around them to steal the show.
But before I get on to those characters, I will say that my favourite subplot of the film involves Gemma Chan's Astrid. It's more serious than the rest of the film and, while she doesn't get a completely happy ending, it's still satisfying to see her character on her way to a better life.
As for the other characters, Awkwafina as Peik Lin Goh utterly steals every single scene she's in and i wish the movie had been able to give her more screen-time. She's fantastically funny, but also a really supportive friend to Rachel when she needs it most. I don't think the character could headline a film, but I would definitely be interested in seeing more.
Ken Jeong is also great as Peik Lin's dad, being hilariously inappropriate, and Nico Santos is also brilliant as Oliver, who also supports Rachel when she's struggling. I'll acknowledge that it sounds like Rachel sounds rather weak, but she really does need the help here.
I'm not used to seeing Michelle Yeoh as an antagonistic character in films, and it really is unsettling to see how coldly she treats Rachel. Part of it is that it's entirely believable because that coldness clearly comes from a place of self-loathing about who she turned out to be.
The other women in the film are like sharks smelling blood in the water regarding Rachel, and are all too eager to do their best to bring her down if at all possible. For some it's out of jealousy that Rachel is with Nick, for others it is the socially correct thing to do and keep the 'commoner' away from what they consider to be Singaporean royalty.
Oh, and a quick word about Singapore here from a personal viewpoint: I'm not one to travel all that much, but I have been to Singapore and it's the first 'exotic' location to be featured in a film that has elicited no response from me. Don't get me wrong, Singapore looks as gorgeous in this film as it is in reality, but I guess it's just that little bit less of a fantasy location having experienced the reality.
Back to the film, and I just want to keep praising the cast for making the experience so enjoyable (or in Gemma Chan's case, so heart-breaking). Again, it's not the most original romantic comedy you'll ever see, but it is genuinely very funny and filled to the brim with a talented cast playing great characters.
I went into this movie expecting to like it and came out loving it. That might come across like a soundbite, but I can't describe my reaction to Crazy Rich Asians any more accurately than that. It's a really, really good film that I hope lots of people go and see.
Crazy Rich Asians is a great film, filled with fantastic performances - especially the supporting cast. The central story may play out as much as you'd expect a typical romantic comedy to do, but the execution is perfect, and the subplots carry just as much weight. So, so good.