#REVIEW: “CRAZY RICH ASIANS”
Five years after the success of Kevin Kwan‘s critically-acclaimed bestseller comes Jon M. Chu‘s adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians. Setting its sights on a potential Trilogy like its source material, the Film breaks ground as the first ever Hollywood release in the last 25 years to feature an all-Asian Cast. Will the gamble prove profitable? We’re banking on it.
We are swept away on a sumptuous visual feast with our heroine Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a New York University Economics professor, to Singapore after she learns very suddenly that her longtime boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) is abundantly wealthy. The occasion is what many calling the event of the year in upper social circles in Singapore, the wedding of Nick’s best friend and nothing could prepare Rachel for the tumultuous and extravagant rollercoaster ahead.
On this voyeuristic journey with Rachel, we get a study of the unforgiving face of excessivism and classism amongst the upper echelon, Nick‘s world. Every step Rachel takes towards winning the approval of Nick‘s family, namely his mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), we soon realize she is getting no further ahead and that perhaps she never will be enough to win Eleanor‘s approval. Everything from jealous ex-lovers and deeply-buried family secrets come to light and while never do we doubt their love for another, we wonder if the opposing forces ultimately will be the end of it all for the couple. The Film understands so well the experience of the immigrant child, caught between values of a progressive world and old school tradition and family.
Chu takes an adapted Screenplay by Adele Lim and Peter Chiarelli and translates it beautifully for the big screen, capturing the complicated web of emotions within and between Rachel and Eleanor. Each peels a layer off the other until the other is battle-worn to their most vulnerable core, a thick tension built through few words but highly palpable among the audience. Wu is a revelation as relatable Rachel in a performance which leaves little doubt that she can front an entire Franchise. Yeoh displays her veteran prowess, manifesting masterfully Eleanor’s resent and protectiveness of the Young family legacy. Oxford graduate Gemma Chan is cast perfectly as Nick‘s understatedly elegant cousin Astrid, well on her way to stateside recognition with an upcoming role in Captain Marvel. Funnywoman Awkwafina whom we couldn’t get enough of in Ocean’s 8, is an uproarious delight, the overstated contrast to Chan’s quietness as Rachel’s best friend Peik Lin. Golding charms as the leading man balancing-out the shimmery chaos of this other Cantonese and Mandarin soundtrack world with some reason.
Fans of Kwan‘s novel should be delighted by this fresh-feeling adaptation and we don’t doubt that devout new hearts will be won. Warner Bros. Canada release CRAZY RICH ASIANS Wednesday, August 15, 2018.