Crazy Rich Asians: Relatable or Debatable?

Lariana Cline

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Everyone appreciates a good love story. No matter how cliche the storylines may seem, people are nonetheless drawn to the drama, humor, and heartache that evokes the romantic side in us all. This is especially so when the audience is able to relate to the characters on screen.

When asked whether the stereotypes present in blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians provided a relatable aspect, an Asian-American BCA junior responded, “I was able to relate to most of the stereotypes; however, some I felt were a bit far-fetched.” He continued that he felt the emphasis on culture undermined the plot of the movie, as most of the focus seemed to be directed at the culture.

Crazy Rich Asians premiered on August 15th, starring Constance Wu as protagonist Rachel Chu and Henry Golding as Nick Young, Rachel’s love interest. Rachel Chu is an economics professor at NYU and while she is of Chinese heritage, she was raised American. Nick Young had a more traditional upbringing, raised by a wealthy Chinese family in Singapore. While Rachel was told to pursue her dreams and her own happiness, Nick was born to inherit his family’s empire. While the two are from completely different worlds – and maintaining their relationship grows seemingly impossible under the pressure from cultural conflicts they face through their journey – this fairytale romance proves that love can conquer all.

Nick and Rachel share a love that any person can relate to. This love that is tried continually by family and friends keeps the audience holding their breath, and maybe even holding back tears, at every twist in their captivating journey. The audience is also given insight into the lives of secondary characters, capturing their journey through their own obstacles. Through the raw emotions communicated throughout the movie, the audience is given moments in which they find themselves falling in love all over again, as they grow attached to the characters.

These relationships contribute to a foundation that is meant to make the film universally relatable. While Crazy Rich Asians is unlike most other movies featuring Asian characters, the film does not completely disregard the typical Asian stereotypes.

Most are probably familiar with the stereotypical Asian mother in law, who will always feel that no woman is good enough for her perfect son. Perhaps the exclusive nature of the Chinese families is a familiar depiction. Or maybe it is the premise that an Asian born and raised in America will always be viewed as an outsider by the foreign Asian community.

But if you’re not Chinese, can you still appreciate the cultural aspect, which makes up a large part of the movie? And if you are, do these stereotypes still apply, or are they outdated?

These stereotypes are meant to provide the audience with a familiar cultural aspect that they might better connect to. Perhaps some would agree with the earlier statement made by the junior mentioned, and felt that these stereotypes had too much a presence. Or maybe others would agree more with AEDT junior, Ashish Kokkula, who said he “found that the clan stereotype can be kind of endearing…”, and commented that he found that “Crazy Rich Asians encapsulates-partly-the reason why arranged marriages actually exists: the money… and how they break a love bond between two people if one or both families are willing to break it.” This student was able to draw a connection to his own ethnicity, allowing him to better connect with and comprehend the actions of the characters.

But maybe, like me, you just appreciate a good romance. Whatever your ethnicity or nationality, or whether or not you can relate to such a story, a majority will agree that Crazy Rich Asians is worth the watch, and gives everyone a character to root for. After all, who doesn’t love a happy ending?