“Crazy, Rich Asians” rises above stereotypes

Devyn Inong, Infographics Editor

From bookstore to the cinema, the feature-film “Crazy, Rich Asians” breaks Asian stereotypes while paving a new path for aspiring Asian-Americans hoping to make it big on Hollywood screens.
Directed by Jon M. Chu, the two-hour movie is sure to take audiences on an emotional roller coaster as they follow Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, on her journey to Singapore with her wealthy boyfriend Nicholas Young, played by Henry Golding. Young convinces Chu that it’s important she come to Singapore so she can meet his family.
With some persuading from her mother and best friend, Chu finally agrees to accompany Young on his trip back to Singapore. The movie itself is filled to the brim with references only an Asian would understand, such as using “Lah!” after a sentence.
However, there are still many moments that make the film enjoyable for those that are not of Asian descent. A number of tear-jerking scenes contrast the humorous dialogue, tugging on viewers’ heartstrings and leaving audiences with watery eyes and softened hearts.
A few scenes in the movie felt cliché, such as when two lovers meet eyes during a wedding and imagine that they are being wed instead of the bride and groom, and a scene where an actor’s six-pack just so happens to hit the sunlight at such a perfect angle that makes his skin sparkle.
These scenes are an essential part of rom-coms. Thankfully, the script was not cliché to the point where I became annoyed while watching.
Compared to other Hollywood films, the cast of “Crazy, Rich Asians” is mostly Asian, and while this observation is obvious, hence the title of the movie and media buzz, I never realized the lack of Asian faces in Hollywood blockbusters until seeing this film.

South China Morning Post 

The last film to feature an all-Asian cast was “The Joy Luck Club,” which premiered 25 years ago in 1993. While some films do feature Asian characters, those roles are usually given to white actors.
For example, Scarlett Johansson was cast as the lead in the movie “Ghost in the Shell,” which was originally a Japanese anime. Matt Damon was also cast as the lead in the movie “The Great Wall,” and the majority of the cast for the movie interpretation of Pearl Buck’s classic “The Good Earth” were white actors.
Many films before “Crazy, Rich Asians” not only cast white actors in Asian roles but also portray Asian characters in a stereotypical light. The original “Karate Kid” franchise prolonged stereotypical movies with a storyline about a spiritually wise Asian elder who mentors a troublesome child who doesn’t fit in at school, eventually resulting in the social misfit becoming widely accepted among many of his peers.
“Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2” mixes actress Lucy Liu into the bag of other Asian actors who had to play characters with substantial martial art skills. The “cool Asians” cast in the film “Mean Girls” are unable to speak fluent English.
Asian stereotypes even show up in animated films like “Aristocats,” where two Siamese cats are drawn with slitted eyes and speak in high-pitched broken English. Less than a quarter of the voice actors in Dreamworks Animation’s popular “Kung Fu Panda” franchise are Asian, and Japanese character Kubo from “Kubo and the Two Strings” is voiced by Irish actor Art Parkinson.
Why the lack of proper Asian representation in major films? Unfortunately, that is a question only Hollywood can answer. Nonetheless, “Crazy, Rich Asians” will surely mark a large milestone in Hollywood by casting Asian actors in non-stereotypical Asian roles.