Crazy Rich Asians Film Review

There are two other books in this series by Kevin Kwan:  China Rich Girlfriend  and  Rich People Problems. 

There are two other books in this series by Kevin Kwan: China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems. 

 
 

Crazy Rich Asians Film Review

Dion J. Flores

Critique.Blog, London, United Kingdom

August 30th, 2018

 

While the movie could have been the critically anticipated film that breaks the glass ceiling of cinematic segregation for Asian-Americans in Hollywood, the producers instead created a tasteful representation of where Asian-American ancestry has come from. 

The movie was your standard Rom-Com with an all Asian cast. But throughout the movie I kept asking, “aren’t there more critical questions that a movie like this could be asking?” For example, the potential topics could be: the complexity that family plays into many Asian cultures or the power that the women hold in the family as protectors of the community. I just wanted to believe that surely, Ken Jeong and other leading figures in Hollywood were ahead of this. As the movie unfolded, it was clear that they were. 

 

In this short essay I intend to make two statements, pose a few questions, and provide a critique. Statement 1: Asians are in segregation. They have been in segregation since they first came to this country. Statement 2: Crazy Rich Asians as a film attempted to break the ceiling which segregates and separates them from the mainstream. Questions: Was the attempt successful? Where were we then before the film and where are we now? What was communicated? And will a critique of the film illuminate critical issues?

 

The Values

Propping up the sons and daughters. Everything the parents do are for the kids. All the money goes toward their success. This quickly concretizes the path of life set for many Asian kids.

 

Family dinners, more like community dinners, food, potluck style. Extremely important. The activity of cooking for your family and eating with them is integral to our culture. 

 

Terms of respect. Typically, you address anyone older than you with a sign of respect. For example, if you are two adults similar in age, even if you are extended family, you can refer to each other as kuya and ate (brother and sister). If you have older extended family member who is not part of your immediate family, you may address them as tita or tito (aunt or uncle). And there are many more iterations of this. 

 

Focus on Education. There was no other choice. Why would you go and waste a perfectly good school that is there to teach you while you mess around? This reality would be unacceptable in our family. Though, a focus on education is a good quality in culture, it is clearly a legacy of our colonization. 

 

Economically Frugal…for good reason! We don’t believe in wasting our money and have our finances governed by impulse, emotion, and a relentless need to prop one’s self up. 

 

Incessant, and at times, blinding focus on family and tradition. This is our hubris. It’s like we care so much about family we end up dominating each other into adhering to these rules. 

 

Intolerance for Western Arrogance

We just don’t make time for that “obnoxious American crap.” We constantly poke fun at our friends when they embody that rhetoric. However, we skillfully navigate this mine field which earns us our model minority stereotype. 

 

Consciousness of Capital & Industriousness

This quality has benefited us for generations. This is something the colonizers enjoyed in Asians. It gave them a purpose. They weren’t just these things that came to our country. We can put them to work and other rhetoric of the like. 

 

The Critique

White American audiences are not ready for the complexity which makes up Asian diasporic discourse. Asians are screaming for the recognition and inclusion in the mainstream institutions that we helped build. White America ignores this plea and usually comes up with excuses. We have to embody our segregation and in that we can reclaim our humanity and place in the world. A difficulty: Asians are really polite. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But we are fighting for our place.