As promised, I am reviewing the Crazy Rich Asians movie this week. My review of the book posted last week, you can check it out here. As I said in that review, the book is a satire of Asian culture, while the movie had a different goal. The movie is more of a classic romcom, with some important elements that make it above and beyond.
First of all I’d say it’s easier to love CRA The Movie just because the characters are better. The focus is more on them, not the situation, and therefore Rachel and Nick’s relationship is more interesting and also believable (though they left in the detail where Nick doesn’t reveal his family’s wealth to Rachel, to me the most unrealistic part of their relationship.)
Not offensive to women = 1/1 pt
Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2/2 pts
Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test = 3/3 pts
Rachel is the main character again, and Nick’s mother and ultimately grandmother play major roles (a lot of cousin Aster’s subplot was cut, but it looks like it’ll be back for movie #2). These characters are all similar to their book characters, but the movie puts Rachel and Nick’s mother in direct conflict with each other. I can’t say which I preferred, rather that each characterization fits the style of the medium.
Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4/4 pts
The movie is more plot-driven, and while it loses some character moments I really liked from the book, overall it felt a lot richer. I really enjoyed the ending of the movie, and the callback between the poker game at the beginning of the film to the game of mahjong at the end. This movie is easily re-watchable.
Above and Beyond General Media = 5/5 pts
It’s a real shame that a payment dispute has caused the Asian-heritage script writer to leave the sequel (though I applaud her actions and am glad she has other options) because the first movie was such excellent Asian representation. Here are some articles from Asian writers talking about the importance of:
It’s pretty clear how this movie is above and beyond the general representation! And I have high hopes for the next…as long as they pay their staff equally.
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