“If we’re going to be called yellow, we’re going to make it beautiful,” “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu said. From elegantly telling a romantic tale sprinkled with comedy and light-hearted melodrama to making deep-resonating commentary on Asian culture and feminism, Chu’s film swept theaters away worldwide on Aug. 15.
The movie starts in New York where Nick Young (Henry Golding) invites his girlfriend Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an economics professor, to Singapore to attend his best friend (Chris Pang) Colin Khoo’s summer wedding and introduce her to his enigmatic family. Unbeknownst to Rachel, Nick is the heir to an inconceivable fortune from his fabulously wealthy Singaporean real estate family.
Upon meeting Nick’s friends and family at an extravagant party hosted by the Young family, Rachel finds herself in the middle of a clash of values—between traditionalism and individuality, gender roles and feminism—and more. With a critical family and romantic rivals judging Rachel’s every move, Rachel’s relationship with Nick is inevitably strained. The couple is forced to find their voice, and they must advocate against their loved ones to save their relationship.
While the film’s actors performed with passion, the crew behind the scenes was critical to making the whole production come together. The beautiful venue and scenery of Colin’s wedding was not only appealing to the eye but, along with the background music, effectively conveyed several emotions at once. His bride walked down the aisle to Elvis Presley’s song “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” (performed by Kina Grannis) and together the music and scenery created a joyful moment that brought tears to both the characters’ and audience’s eyes.
Through elegant apparel and charming accessories, the film’s costume crew also did a stellar job with their wardrobe choices to exhibit the wealth of Nick’s family. At many of the dazzling events during the movie, characters wear many designer brands, like Versace, Carven Ong and Valentino, chosen by costume designer Mary Vogt to help depict the movie’s true message.
Near the movie’s end, a Mandarin cover to the Coldplay song “Yellow,” performed by Katherine Ho, played softly as Rachel prepared to leave Singapore. Chu, in his heartfelt letter to Coldplay in order to gain rights to play “Yellow,” described how the song inspired him to view the color yellow as something beautiful, rather than the derogatory term used to describe Asians. The song is symbolic in the end as it builds upon the main themes of the movie. Asian culture is beautiful too, and east Asians can play a lead role in a romantic movie, where the man isn’t viewed as less attractive or “nerdy,” and the female is not docile and submissive. The movie serves to shatter traditionally held generalizations of Asians not only in theaters, but around the world.
Through his direction, Chu broadened the diversity of American films and cast a positive light on Asians in the entertainment industry. Being the 10th-highest domestic grossing movie of the summer, “Crazy Rich Asians” and its Asian stars proved their worth not only to Hollywood but also to audiences worldwide. Having witnessed the stellar performance of the Asian characters, the beauty of each scene, and the lessons conveyed through the characters’ actions and dialogue, Americans in particular left the theater with pride of their heritage, knowing that they come from a country that supports and recognizes the achievements of all Americans.