For decades, Hollywood has struggled in providing Asian actors with the same opportunities as white actors – including awards won, roles given and even pay received. Asian actors are generally limited to stereotypes: the nerdy computer genius or the Kung Fu ninja. However, the new film “Crazy Rich Asians” works incredibly hard to change that. Directed by Jon Murray Chu, the movie hit theaters on August 15 and is being praised as a film that smashes stereotypes.
Few films in American history have been produced that feature a predominantly Asian cast. In fact, the already wildly popular film,”Crazy Rich Asians,” is the first all-Asian film that has been produced since “The Joy Luck Club” 25 years ago. The rom-com is described by Business Insider as “an extravagant, hilarious, and poignant examination of Asian American and Asian cultures.” Set in Singapore,”Crazy Rich Asians,” follows the journey of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she travels to the beautiful country to attend a wedding and meet the family of her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding). While in Singapore, Rachel discovers her boyfriend comes from an incredibly wealthy family – picture them as the Singaporean version of England’s royal family. Chu is suddenly shoved into a world she has never even been exposed to. She is forced to navigate strange relatives, high-class social events and, of course, all of the insanely envious girls who want Singapore’s most eligible bachelor. I imagine it feeling somewhat like the first day of freshman year – you feel like everyone is staring at you, and you don’t even know where the bathroom is yet to go hide.
Before “Crazy Rich Asians” was a sell-out in theaters, it flew off the shelves of bookstores as the best-selling novel written by Kevin Kwan in 2013. Kwan never expected the novel to become such a success, let alone become a highly anticipated film. Kwan says the novel was inspired by many of his own personal experiences growing up in Singapore and then later in the United States. And good news for all you”Crazy Rich Asians” lovers (like me), the novel also has two subsequent novels which are both just as good as the first. Kwan’s goal was to give Westerners a glimpse of the vastly different and unbelievably beautiful Asian culture.
“Crazy Rich Asians” is changing the way Hollywood represents all of the different ethnic groups in American, ultimately opening more windows for those groups considered a minority. Women and African-Americans are a few among the much larger group that struggles with the same things. Pop culture needs to take notice and make more room at the table. With the success of “Crazy Rich Asians,” it is the hope that we should not have to wait another 25 years for a movie with this significance. So thank you, Jon Murray Chu and Kevin Kwan for gracing us with the hysterically funny and insanely important film of”Crazy Rich Asians.”