Crazy Rich Asians
This is a can’t miss movie.
Crazy Rich Asians, directed in Oscar worthy style by Jon M. Chu, is the best romantic comedy to hit the big screen in a long, long time. The movie tells a rich story that involves multiple layers of emotional interaction, and it reminds me of classic films like The Philadelphia Story (1940), Mrs. Miniver (1942) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).
There is not one weak performance in the all Asian cast. Opening with one of the funniest scenes you will ever see involving racial discrimination towards Asians in London in the 1990’s, it flashes forward to modern times where a young economics professor in New York agrees to accompany her boyfriend to Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding. Not realizing that her lover comes from an extraordinarily wealthy family whose mother is demanding his return to the Far East, the story explodes into a series of encounters that charmed everyone in the theater.
Constance Wu gives a captivating performance as Rachel Chu, the Asian-American who is venturing to Singapore for the first time. Henry Golding is equally compelling as the eye-catching boyfriend, Nick Young, and his ability to sustain his commitment to his girlfriend will be challenged by his demanding mother.
Every performance in this film is memorable, but let me focus first on Michelle Yeoh as Nick’s mother Eleanor. Strong willed and focused on controlling her massive businesses and family, this is a role that has an Oscar nomination written all over it. Despite her commitment to ending the relationship between her son and Rachel, you end up admiring her for her dedication to Asian principals having little meaning in the western world.
And while you are likely to remember the performances of Nico Santos, Ken Yeong and Gemma Chan, let me just point out the charming performance of Awkwafina. She plays Goh Peik Lin, the only member of the extended wedding group that befriends Rachel. While she stood out in the recent Oceans 8, she is fantastic here as a very funny, profane woman who wants to help Rachel survive her ordeal.
But what helped to make this film a great movie was the soundtrack. While you all know that I cry easily in films, many of you will fight back tears as you listen to Only Fools Fall in Love being sung by a young woman at the wedding ceremony. It was enchanting to look into the eyes of the bride as she walked down a long aisle that contained running water.
Let me close by pointing out the beauty of Singapore where this movie was filmed. Mo and I spent time there following a cruise along the coast of Viet Nam, and it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Though it was not referred to in the film, you will notice that there was no trash on any of the streets. Let me just say that that has a lot to do with a local ordinance that forbids the use of chewing gum or spitting in public.
This film is a living reminder that there is nothing wrong with being a fool if it enables you to fall in love. That is a small price to pay for one of the great rewards in life.