Trying to fall in love with film again.

'Crazy Rich Asians' is crazy good. See what I did there?

Crazy Rich Asians poster.pngStory 

Rachel Chu, a Chinese Amercian Economic professor has been dating Nick Young for over a year and he asks her to come to Singapore with him for his friend's wedding where she will meet his family.
When she gets to Singapore, she finds out that Nick's family is one of the richest families in Singapore and has to navigate the high-class society where she is judged and seen as less than.

This movie is an adaptation of Kevin Kwan's best selling book and deals with something that everyone deals with at one point or another, feeling inadequate. Whether school, work or just life in general, there are moments where we feel less than and that it makes Rachel more endearing. As far as the story, it's pretty straightforward. You've seen this premise before. but that's not the draw of this movie, that falls with the execution.

Acting

There are some really strong comedic performances in this film.

Constance Wu plays Rachel Chu and delivers a very strong performance. Rachel feels like a real person. She's not the comedic relief of the film but her jokes land due to her brilliant delivery. She made Rachel likeable which works in her favour because you want her to overcome the adversities and obstacles put in front of her seeing as she is the audience's surrogate.

Henry Golding was brilliant as Nick Young especially considering that this is his feature film debut. Nick is everything you could want and need as the lead male in a rom-com. He's funny, cares a lot about Rachel as well as his family and I can't ignore the fact that he's gorgeous. He doesn't deliver the best performance in the film but that doesn't mean it was bad. I'm very excited to see what he does next.

Awkwafina is the comedic relief of this film. She absolutely hilarious. Her character Peik Lin is a breath of fresh air especially in contrast with some of the more serious characters. She has some of the best jokes and is the kind of friend that we all aspire to have.

Michelle Yeoh delivers the best performance in the movie. She's a phenomenal actress and this movie is no different. Her performance as Nick's mum is equal parts regal and terrifying. She's cold but you can tell that it comes from a love of her family as well as understanding what is required of her and as the film goes on you begin to warm towards her.

The supporting characters also deliver good performances, especially Gemma Chan as Astrid and Tan Kheng Hua as Rachel's mum.

Writing/Direction

There are some story beats that are reminiscent of every rom-com with this premise. You pretty much know how some scenes play out, but there's subtle nuance in the construction of the scene that make small differences. Does this movie bring in new story beats no, but the use of language and mannerisms specific to Asia makes the scenes feel new and different.

The main characters were written like actual people, you can see their flaws as well as their strengths. They're well rounded and that allows you to care about them on a deeper level.

There is also a very strong family dynamic in this movie. It shows what it's like to be part of a big family and the dysfunction that can come with it. Having a huge emphasis on family gives the movie heart.

This movie is also funny, almost all the jokes land even the visual jokes. The jokes didn't feel forced, and they're delivered from specific characters which helps with the overall flow because the jokes don't feel out of place due to the delivery.

 John M Chu's movies aren't critically acclaimed but they fall in the guilty pleasure category. And they are fun. I wouldn't say Crazy Rich Asians falls into the guilty pleasure category but it's definitely fun. John M Chu delivers pretty solid direction. Even though you spend time with some of the minor characters you never feel like you're watching a different movie. All their stories intertwine and connect and have a resolution at the end of the movie.

I do have a gripe about the direction and that was the decision to undercut some of the more dramatic moments with comedy and that's something I'm not a fan of regardless of the film or genre. It takes any tension out of the scene and the joke usually not very funny, so you end up with a scene that feels flat and lifeless.

Set Design

This is the best looking movie I have seen all year. The cinematography is absolutely stunning, I haven't seen any of Vanja Cernjul's other projects but the colour grading in this film is spectacular. All the colours stand out and allows for a more immersive viewing experience. You want to keep watching the movie because it's gorgeous.

The same thing can also be said for the set and costume design. Much like Ocean's 8 gorgeous clothes are a non-starter. The clothes in this movie don't feel like costumes (except for the more ostentatious characters) they look like clothes that people (especially those who are crazy rich) would wear. The film feels hyper-realistic and looks it too.

Score/Soundtrack

This movie is more soundtrack heavy and the songs blend with the scenes. Some of the more ostentatious scenes are accompanied by songs about money which is very fitting. The soundtrack also has an amazing cover of Yellow by Katherine Ho that I urge you to listen to.

Overall Thoughts

I really like this movie. It has all the ingredients for a good rom-com. A solid story, great chemistry between the cast. it's funny but also has heart and dramatic moments. The cast has chemistry and they all deliver brilliant performances, especially Michelle Yeoh. This is the first film by a major Holywood studio to feature an all Asian cast since 1993 and that is a monumental step in the right direction. The success of this movie could mean more diverse stories which will never be a bad thing.

This movie knows exactly what it is and never tries to be more than that. It's the right amount of ridiculous, cliche and sweet. That makes for a very enjoyable movie that  I would definitely watch again.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to book a flight to Singapore.

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