The Beautiful Cultural Collision in Crazy Rich Asians

Posted by on August 16, 2018

Check Out Members News From August 16, 2018.

Jon M. Chu’s hit film “Crazy Rich Asians” based on the bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan features something more than a stellar all Asian cast--it features the realistic clash that so many face within their own cultures and families. It is the first Asian led studio film to premiere in theaters in over two decades. Since its release there have been countless posts praising not only the film itself but the fact that it is the first time many Asians and Asian Americans get the opportunity to see a film on the big screen that pays homage to their culture with a cast that looks like them.

Culture is something that unites us. It is beautiful traditions, languages, and styles that are woven through us like invisible DNA. As Gloria Anzaldua stated in her book Borderlands, “others having or living in more than one culture, get multiple, often opposing messages. The coming together of two self-consistent but habitually incomparable frames of reference causes un choque, a cultural collision.”

“Crazy Rich Asians” highlights the cross cultural clash between traditional and the Westernized ideals. Carlos Aguilar’s review for “the Wrap” aptly describes how the film manages to achieve such through heartfelt comedy. He writes, “Through Rachel, “Crazy Rich Asians” aims to bridge the gap between Asians living on the continent and the Diaspora, between those born into fortunes and the ones who struggled for success, and between ancient conventions and capitalist philosophies.” It is not just a look into Asian culture but the intersectional experience of an Asian American compared to those who remained on the continent. This film is the epitome of #WeAreInclusion and it is only the beginning.

With the help of AAFCA and I Will Harness, NALIP was able to host a screening of the film to help share this story. To see the viewers’ heartfelt reactions to this amazing story and hilarious film check out the video at NALIP Instagram

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Film Review: Constance Wu Stands Out in Culturally Rich Rom-Com

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.

“All Americans think about is their own happiness,” asserts affluent Chinese mother Eleanor Sung-Young (Michelle Yeoh) in a belittling tone when scrutinized about the overpowering influence family has over her son’s future. Her severe declaration encapsulates the critical ideological duel in director Jon M. Chu’s lavish film “Crazy Rich Asians” (based on Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel), where the pursuit of individual gratification is confronted with the notion of sacrificing one’s desires for the survival of tradition.

Those rousing cross-cultural observations, however, are displayed not in a hardboiled drama but in an utterly sumptuous romantic comedy that aesthetically lives up to its Hollywood pedigree.

Gallant Nick Young (British-Malaysian TV host Henry Golding) and NYU Economics Professor, Rachel Chu (“Fresh Off the Boat’s” Constance Wu), are two lovebirds setting out to meet his family in the thriving city-state of Singapore on the occasion of his best friend Colin’s (Australia’s Chris Pang) wedding.

Unaccustomed to excessive luxury, Rachel learns that Nick comes from a “comfortable” lineage once onboard a first-class aircraft with plenty of amenities. By now, everyone in the elite circles of Singaporean society, include Nick’s mother Eleanor, is fully aware of Rachel’s shortcomings: she has no money, no connections, and she is American. Jaw-dropping, postcard-like vistas of the multicultural and finance-driven Asian nation — captured in eye-popping fashion by Croatian cinematographer Vanja Cernjul — welcome her to an ordeal she is not prepared for.

At the extravagant soirées leading up to the main ceremony, Rachel is bombarded with blunt inquiries in regards to her bloodline. Nick and his family resemble royalty here, so she is now part of every conversation among aunties, suitresses and relatives that poured in from Taiwan, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Employing Singapore as converging ground serves the narrative well since English is widely spoken and an array of specific ethnic groups inhabits the island, which mirrors the cast’s eclectic origins and offers them a common language.

Conflict arises for Rachel in full form during her initial encounter with stern Eleanor, who carries herself with politeness but doesn’t mince words expressing her disdain for the Western ideals the young woman represents. Elegant as ever, Yeoh is convincingly subdued in the role of a woman bound to the status quo, and overprotective of her shinning heir. Early on in the film, she is also radiant in a scene set in 1995 battling racism with grace.

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A leading advocate in inclusion in the industry, NALIP is providing more resources to aspiring filmmakers every year with events such as the NALIP Media Summit, the Latino Media Fest, and the Diverse Women in Media Forum, and events such as the Latino Lens Workshops and the Latino Lens Incubator Shorts.

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