Representation in the Asian community arises with Crazy Rich Asians’ debut

For the Asian community, representation through films is uncommon. Asian culture, lifestyle, and perspective is not explored as much as other non-Asian films. In over two decades, an all-Asian cast never made their debut on-screen. However, with the arrival of the new movie Crazy Rich Asians, it dominates the box office, with nearly $120 million dollars coming through and becomes the most successful romantic comedy in six years.

As an Asian myself, seeing such strong representation in an extremely popular movie was mind-boggling. During my lifetime, many Asian stereotypes reflected how I was perceived by strangers and friends. I was expected to always work, study nonstop, become a genius, and go to prestigious schools like Harvard. Many peers relied on me for homework and help, thinking that I was a prodigy in every subject at school.

With the thought of typical Asian stereotypes, I was beyond thrilled but slightly doubtful for the outcome of the movie. The excitement came from the fact that was the cast was all-Asian, and the implication of Asian culture added to the happiness. However, I was slightly doubtful, thinking that the stereotypes that I was pressured into would be showcased, in which they were not ultimately true. An inaccurate view of Asians and their culture scared me but I was surprised by the beautiful culture displayed and admirable characters by the end.

Crazy Rich Asians centers around Rachel Chu, an ordinary Chinese woman happily in love with her longtime boyfriend, Nick. Nick is invited to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore and the two travel back to Nick’s hometown to meet his family and celebrate the special day for his best friend. Rachel learns that Nick’s family is extremely rich and he is known as one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Thrown into the rich and lavish lifestyle, Rachel is forced to deal with jealous competition, intimidating family, and Nick’s disapproving mother.

The plot overall was hilarious and moving. The movie made sure to always include humorous jokes every couple of minutes, but it also revealed a lot of life lessons I never saw in other films. Respecting the family bond and fighting all obstacles for love with someone not fit for the other is empowering for me.

The actors in the movie also played a role in the amazing outcome. I could not imagine a better cast than the ones in the movie. The actors were beautiful and amusing, but they were equal parts sophisticated and elegant. It showed off the quirky but serious side of Asians that made the movie accurate.

Rachel’s efforts to please Nick’s family and the struggles she faces were admirable. Typical of Asian stereotypes, Nick’s mother is against the relationship between her rich son and a “poor” woman. Rachel’s perseverance to receive the respect she craves is tedious, but to see her hard work pay off, in the end, was satisfying and well deserved.

Crazy Rich Asians gave the audience a full view of the geography of Singapore. Every scene was highlighted with gorgeous views and stunning sites to visit. The film seemed to brag about the beautiful scenery of Asia and made sure to include cultural aspects like Singapore street food and the art of making dumplings. The representation in the smallest details meant a lot to me more than I thought it would.   

Crazy Rich Asians exceeded all expectations with its unique plot, attractive, sophisticated actors, and the crazy amount of representation it showcased. It is not typical for an all-Asian case movie to be released and become popular, and this strong step forward to more Asian representation was refreshing and gave me the courage to not hide my Asian features.