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Examining The Representation of Asian Identity in 'Crazy Rich Asians'

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Crazy Rich Asians, directed by Jon M. Chu and based on the popular novel by Kevin Kwan, is a cultural achievement. Chu has directed many popular films like Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and Now You See Me 2. This movie is the highest-grossing rom-com in the last 10 years and is the first major studio film that features an all Asian cast as lead roles since “The Joy Luck Club” which opened in 1993. Bringing in over $238 million worldwide, this movie has truly captured the emotion and values of the Asian culture and has brought a new kind of movie to the film world.

This movie is a romantic comedy that follows Rachel Chu, an New York University economics professor who is in love with Nick Young (Henry Golding), who comes from a very rich Singaporean family. They travel to Singapore together to attend a wedding, but Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has failed to mention his wealth and his family’s reputation in Singapore. Rachel must quickly adapt to the Chinese culture of this family which include Nick’s jealous ex-girlfriends and Nick’s mother, who believes that she is not good enough for her son. If Rachel can’t handle these issues, she will risk losing her true love.

The movie is focused around Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) who is known for this type of character as an Asian-American and is shown through her work on the ABC television show, Fresh Off the Boat. Unlike other romcoms that tend to portray their heroines as naive, Rachel is shown as a very smart and put together person. She is able to keep a steady foot throughout the movie and have a strong mind. The other people in the cast are great too. Nick’s cousin, Astrid (Gemma Chan), gives a phenomenal performance as she deals with marriage issues and struggles to realize her self-worth. Rachel’s college friend, Peik Lin (Awkwafina), is the comedic relief of the entire movie. She comes from a rich Singaporean family and is very outgoing and friendly along with her dad played by Ken Jeong. This comedic duo makes fun of Rachel’s American lifestyle, calling her a banana, and stereotype Asians which adds humor to the movie’s storyline. Michelle Yeoh who plays Nick’s intimidating mother delivers an outstanding performance and adds depth to her character. She plays the “villain” in this movie and does everything to stop Rachel from marrying her son. All this talent being brought together on one screen is what makes this movie so successful.

As an Asian-American, I could relate to a lot of what was going on in this movie. For example, the scene where the children are all making dumplings with Ah-Ma (Lisa Lu) was very real and reminded me of the time I spend with my cousins and mom rolling egg rolls. In fact, there were many scenes that included food. Food is a very vital part of the Asian culture and the scenes show everything from cooking the food in the kitchen to the Chinese street food. Also, the main conflict between Rachel and Eleanor is a very common Asian issue and I see it all the time within my family and with me and my parents. This movie does well to show the different cultures. The American culture is shown through Rachel’s character as prioritizing career and happiness while the Chinese culture, which is emphasizing family first, is shown in Nick’s mom.

As the movie progresses Nick’s mom finally comes to the realization that money doesn’t buy you love, and that family is important. Crazy Rich Asians is an emotional rollercoaster and is a very monumental piece that will be remembered for years to come. This movie has brought attention to the underrepresentation of Asian actors in Hollywood and has combined both American and Asian cultures to create a unique movie. Due to the success of this film, the sequel, Crazy Rich Girlfriend, is set to release in 2021. This movie has created a new outlook for Asian-Americans and brings in new role models for the younger generation. 

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Examining the Representation of Asian Identity in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from
“Examining the Representation of Asian Identity in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2023,
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