By: Rohn Romulo
WARNER Bros.’ new romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians takes a fun, engaging and hilarious look at what can happen when young love collides with old money.
Singapore’s favorite son, Nick Young (Henry Golding), proudly brings his beautiful and successful New Yorker girlfriend Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) home for a meet-and-greet, but the family dynamics aren’t quite what she expects.
For Rachel, what starts as a dream romantic holiday with the man she adores becomes a battle to remain true to herself and her roots, while holding her own against picture-perfect backstabbing rivals and a prospective mother-in-law who thinks this modern American girl will never measure up.
Set in Singapore and featuring the first all-Asian ensemble in a contemporary Hollywood film in 25 years, the story mines humor from the idiosyncrasies of one family in a way that people everywhere can relate to—no matter who they are, how much money they have, or where they call home. It taps into the fundamental desire to fit in, while honoring your own identity, in an era of blending—and sometimes clashing—cultures.
As Rachel’s friend tries to warn her: these people aren’t just rich. They’re crazy-rich. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Constance Wu, who stars as the intrepid Rachel, describes her as “a college professor raised by a working-class, single mom. For many people, that’s a point of pride, but not for the Youngs. Their pride comes from legacy. I don’t think the story says one value system is better than the other, but shows those cultural differences and the differences between Asian and Asian-American, that are often overlooked. What I love about Rachel is that when things get tough she has the courage to follow her heart and forge her own path, in ways that are tested, but, ultimately, make up who she is.”
It’s a test for Nick, too, even though he knows what’s coming. “Having decided that Rachel is the one, he first has to get over the speed bump of bringing her home,” says Henry Golding, making his feature film debut as Nick.
“He’s afraid if she sees how he was brought up, she might think he’s not the guy she fell in love with. Also, once home, he sees more clearly the forces conspiring to tear them apart and how standing his ground will affect them both.”
At its core, Crazy Rich Asians is a love story…a kind of savvy Cinderella tale, complete with a charming prince, a magnificent castle, and a battle of wills between two strong women determined to write their own ending. “I definitely see this as a modern-day, aspirational fairytale,” states Chu.
“Rachel is our princess-warrior, and this is her journey to discover who she is—an American girl on her first trip to Asia, who comes away with a deeper appreciation not only of her past, but of her future.”
“Rachel is the way in for audiences,” says Wu.
“We see everything through her eyes. She’s living a regular life, meeting her boyfriend for karaoke, et cetera, after work. Everything she has she has earned through hard work, and she’s remained humble and appreciative. So, when she’s thrown into this world of wealth unlike anything she’s ever known, it’s hard to fathom. Rich is something many of us have seen before: rich means you can buy whatever you want. Wealth means you can buy whatever you want and you control the market.”
On the plus side, Wu points out, “Rachel and Nick really love each other. Love transcends class and culture and logic. When someone’s your person, you know it, and that’s what Rachel and Nick are to each other.”
But will that be enough?
In Philippine cinemas August 22, Crazy Rich Asians is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company.