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Crazy Rich Asians - Review

Crazy Rich Asians

Review by Shereen Low

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

“WHAT about us taking an adventure East?” handsome Nick Young suggests to his girlfriend, Rachel Chu, as they sit in a bar in New York. “Like East Village?” she replies, “or further east – Queens?” To which he says: “I’m thinking east East – like Singapore.”

Thus kicks off Rachel’s life-changing trip, set within the lush and lavish backdrop of far-flung south-east Asia, which has become one of the most talked-about movies of 2018, reducing Chrissy Teigen and Mindy Kaling to tears and conquering box offices across the world. The Cinderella-inspired story, based on Kevin Kwan’s 2013 best-selling novel, is directed by Fast & Furious and Step Up filmmaker Jon M Chu, who shows he can successfully switch from gripping sleight-of-hand action to romantic comedy.

As Rachel heads to Singapore to meet Nick’s family for the first time and attend his best friend Colin’s flamboyant wedding, things begin to change. For starters, the minute they get on their way for their much-anticipated trip abroad, Rachel – a New York University economics professor, played brilliantly by Fresh Off The Boat star Constance Wu – finds out her boyfriend (Henry Golding) is actually one of the country’s most eligible bachelors, ‘the Prince William of Asia’, being the only son of Singapore’s richest developer families.

“I had no idea. You use my Netflix password!” she says. Her best friend, Peik Lin (Awkwafina) explains: “The Youngs are like royalty. These people are not just rich, they’re crazy rich!”

Once in Singapore, Rachel is plunged deep into the lives of this wealthy extended family, which include Nick’s cousins, Astrid (Gemma Chan) and Eddie (The Daily Show’s Ronny Chieng).

American-born Rachel – who hails from a working-class background, having been brought up by a single mum – quickly discovers her biggest obstacle in her relationship: impressing his tiger mum Eleanor, portrayed wonderfully by Michelle Yeoh. “You’re not our own kind. You’re American… you follow your passion,” she says, as Rachel retorts: “I thought I was here to meet your family. But I feel like a villain.”

There’s been a huge buzz surrounding Crazy Rich Asians from the moment it was greenlit, with the biggest deal made around the fact that this is the first film in 25 years, since 1993’s Joy Luck Club, to feature an all-east Asian cast.

Hence, it boasts some well-known faces such as Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Ken Jeong (The Hangover films) and Gemma Chan (Humans) sharing screen time alongside up-and-coming names such as Wu, Golding and rapper-turned-actress Awkwafina (Ocean’s Eight).

But this big-screen representation of diversity means a lot to the younger generation of immigrants and their parents.

Crucially, however, that’s not the only reason to fall in love with it. The film, which features strong fierce females, allows women – especially the awesome BFF Peik Lin – to be funny and amazing and not overshadowed by the guys. It has already surpassed box office expectations in America and looks set to do the same here.

With the sequel already greenlit, I can’t wait for round two.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 2hrs 1min
UK Release Date: September 14, 2018