Hollywood’s New Face

Family, love, and race take the spotlight in Crazy Rich Asians


graphic by D. Crickets

Valerie Davis, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The box office sensation Crazy Rich Asians has put new face on Hollywood culture.  The rom-com drama has been on pace to become one of the most successful films of its genre — and it features an all-Asian cast.

The protagonist of the movie, Rachel Chu, is an economics professor at New York University. She and her boyfriend, Nick Young, have been dating for a year when he takes her to Singapore to meet his family. Despite Nick’s casual and low-profile appearance, his family is one of the wealthiest families in Asia.

The movie presents different parts of Singapore culture not commonly portrayed on the western screen: Nick’s mother’s mansion, a resort on the beaches of the island, and even the extravagant wedding venue. The family’s lifestyle shocks not only Rachel but also the audience.  Rarely accustomed to viewing an all-Asian cast in a Hollywood film, audiences have been struck as the film boldly depicts the lifestyles of upper-crust Singapore, one of the richest countries in the world.

Even the title of the movie has brought controversy. “Crazy” and “Rich” have the potential to insult, and “Asians” seems to simplistically lump all cultures on the Asian continent into one group. Some critics have argued that aspects of the film are racist.

“The cast — although completely Asian — does not accurately reflect what East Asians look like in reality,” one critic wrote.  “Everyone possesses a very light shade of skin tone that isn’t definitive of the range of colors in East Asia.”

However, the movie has broken box office records, quickly becoming one of the most successful romantic comedies to come out in almost a decade. Its fun, drama-filled, and hilarious plot line has drawn in audiences all over the world, as it explores real-world issues such as relationship, financial, and racial problems.

A cultural phenomenon, Crazy Rich Asians has given people a chance to spend two hours seeing the world through a different set of eyes.  Whether it is the enjoyable plot-line or the all-Asian cast that has made it so popular, the movie has struck a chord that hopefully encourages Hollywood to continue challenging long-held stereotypes.