It’s been a long time coming and finally Crazy Rich Asians the movie has made its way to the big screen. Back in 2014, the book was the favorite thing I read that year (see my blurb on that here). I think it’s a given that in the book vs. movie debate, the books are almost always better because it just allows for more expression. I like to think I am objective and it is unfair to do a comparison. I think a good movie is a good movie regardless of it being an adaptation and I judge as a standalone.
Crazy Rich Asians the movie is presented as the story of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) accompanying her boyfriend, Nick (Henry Golding) to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding and also a chance for her to meet his family. In the year and half they have been dating, Nick has left out the fact that his family is one of the wealthiest back home and that she is walking into a lion’s den of cattiness due to snobby relatives, a disapproving mother and jealous socialites who would love to be in Rachel’s shoes.
I really didn’t want to do a book vs. movie comparison, but I say CRA – the movie because when I read the book, I completely didn’t see it as a rom com. A friend and I have argued about it because she did but I did not see the book as Rachel and Nick centric. It was such a robust book full of Asian culture, that any child of an immigrant could relate to, a flamboyant display of wealth, a strong class system and most characters were fully developed but the movie seemed more about the love story between Nick and Rachel.
So, as you can tell from the above paragraph, I hate to be the party pooper cuz I know most people love this movie, but I am not one of them. Even as a love story, I thought the movie fell flat. I don’t think Constance Wu was strong enough as lead and it felt a little bit disjointed. When the previews were being shown for the movie, I wondered what people would think the movie was about based on just the previews because I for one couldn’t tell.
That’s not to say everything was bad, I think they did a great job of translating the wealth and visually it was a delight to watch. The wedding scene was my absolute favorite, complete with the soundtrack (look out for an Asian version of Coldplay’s “Yellow”). Although, I have to say in a scene where Rachel was supposed to have a drop the mic moment and make an entrance in a show stopper, I couldn’t believe the get up that she ended up with. It was very underwhelming. Special shout out to Michelle Yeoh as Nick’s mom and Gemma Chan as Astrid. Perfect casting and they lit up the screen with star power. I kept wanting to see more of Astrid’s story.
Overall, I give kudos for the movie and providing the representation that is needed because believe it or not, representation DOES matter. But for me I was unaffected and I did not have a reaction or connection to a lot of the characters but hey, if 95% of people love it, maybe it’s just me?
Have you seen it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.