“Crazy Rich Asians” opened in theaters on August 15 with a lot of pressure on its shoulders. It’s a rare film from a major Hollywood studio to be directed by an Asian filmmaker and feature a predominantly Asian cast. You have to go back to “The Joy Luck Club” in 1993 for an example of that kind of representation. So like other movies about underrepresented groups (like “Black Panther” and “Love, Simon“) it faces a couple of loaded questions: is it good, and will it sell?
Box office remains to be seen, but the reviews indicate that it is, in fact, quite good. It has a score of 76 on MetaCritic and a 94% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus says that the film “takes a satisfying step forward for screen representation while deftly drawing inspiration from the classic — and still effective — rom-com formula.”
Helmed by Jon M. Chu, the film tells the fish-out-of-water story of a New Yorker (Constance Wu) who falls in love with a man (Henry Golding) from an outrageously wealthy Singapore family (one might call them crazy rich). Critics are saying it is “truly groundbreaking” in “paying attention to cultural nuances that rarely make the multiplex.” It’s a “great romance,” and its “arrival is undeniably momentous.” And while some are ambivalent about how it focuses so much attention on luxurious “affluence porn,” it still “has a lot more going for it than its literal money shots.”
Are you crazy excited to see “Crazy Rich Asians”? Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow movie fans in our forums.
Inkoo Kang (Slate): “The film’s arrival is undeniably momentous. But it’s nearly as vital that ‘Crazy Rich’ is a romantic comedy — a genre that relies on charisma above all else. The film’s stereotype-busting approach is multifarious … ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ isn’t really about crazy rich Asians anyway, so much as one American who gains a greater appreciation of where she comes from. It’s a great romance, but it’s most powerful as a story of her love with herself.”
Danny Yu (Time Out): “Bursting with attitude and heart, Hollywood’s first Asian-centric rom-com in years makes up for lost time in a big way … ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is truly groundbreaking (especially now, in our xenophobic moment), paying attention to cultural nuances that rarely make the multiplex. To hear your mother’s regional Chinese dialect spoken in a major Hollywood film is an occasion for no small amount of pride.”
Emily Yoshida (Vulture): “It’s clear nobody had faith in a fluffy rom-com about the lives and loves of Asian people going down smoothly without a heaping spoonful of affluence porn … Luckily, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is, at its heart, a fish-out-of-water story, and it has a lot more going for it than its literal money shots.”
Justin Chang (Los Angeles Times): “In a better world, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ wouldn’t have to prove or represent anything but itself. But here we are. That pressure may at least partly explain the script’s anxious, eager-to-please quality, which feels both touchingly awkward and wholly appropriate to the giddy aspirational fairy tale it’s selling.”