*Warning: this post may contain spoilers.
One of the many activities I did in my spare time this four day weekend was read, “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan. One of the many activities I did in my spare time this four day weekend was read, “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan. Now, everyone has their own version of their favorite romantic comedy movie. We all have that guilty pleasure of watching a rom-com movie or reading a stand-alone novel like Colleen Hoover books. Yet, what is your favorite 2018 romantic comedy? Here’s why you should check out reading or watching, “Crazy Rich Asians”.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (2014) A Summary
(The picture is from Kevin Kwan’s website.)
“When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back” (Kevin Kwan book summary). The sequels, “Crazy Rich Girlfriend” (2016) and “Rich People Problems” (2017) are also best-selling books in the series.
Why does it work?
Diversity– telling a new story
(Picture of All Asian cultures from Google Images.)
In American school, we learn mainly about British and American history than any other culture. Similarly, some of us remember some Egyptian pharaohs and Greek/ Roman Gods, but who knows about Chinese folklore? Since my involvement in watching Asian dramas, I had opened a door to learning about a whole another race that I knew no knowledge about in my life. Like in Asian dramas, we learn about Singapore Asians within Kwan’s “Crazy Rich Asians” trilogy. In the beginning chapters of the story, we get insight on how they live their culture, standards, and learn how small the social scene is within the community. In addition, we Americans are loving diversity in young/new adult books. Kwans is telling a love story while exposing his culture for the traditionalism that still exists today in the modern 21st century.
Paternal blockage – like a Shakespearean Comedy play
The determining factor if a Shakespeare play is the company is based on the level of desire and paternal blockage in the play. In “Crazy Rich Asians”, you have the couple Rachel Chu and Nicholas young are together and plan to attend Nicholas’s best friend’s wedding in his hometown. Yet, the moment Rachel meets Nicholas mom she instantly doesn’t like her. Most Asian parents demand a higher expectation from their children and respect. If somebody steps out of line everybody would know about it immediately. For example, a girl in the restaurant recognizes Nicholas and starts looking up the girl, Rachel Chu, a background to find out who she is as a person. Within minutes, everyone knew who she was and the information led back to Nicholas’s mother. So, at the beginning of the story, we immediately have people holding back secrets, a glimpse into how intricate and intertwine the Asian culture is with gossip and family togetherness. This is just a brief explanation of the paternal blockage already in the story, yet, the story goes deeper.
The Book vs. The Film
(The movie poster is from Google Images.)
Firstly, the book is told in alternating character perspectives and explores the Singapore language is more seen in the book with explanations after every chapter. An example is when we look into who Nicholas’s mother, Eleanor, is before being seen in the movie. Eleanor has a certain perspective on how customs should be handled, very traditional, and knows what it’s like to marry into a high-class Asian society. In the movie, we only see her as a cold, reserved person to Rachel until she puts her foot down on their relationship.
The film adaption is told from Rachael’s point of view mainly to the audience and explores her thoughts, feelings, and reservations about going to vacation with her boyfriend, Nicholas. Additionally, the film flows each alternating perspective between Rachael, Nicholas, Astrid, and Eleanor (Nicholas’s mom). Some of Nicholas’ cousins made a scene or two in the film but has a better presence in the book. Everyone knows the film adaption of a book will cut out scenes that are excessive or unimportant for a 120-minute movie. Yet, in this movie, cutting out those parts help make the story flow together and focus on the couple: Rachel and Nicholas. The story line was well thought out in content and exposure of another culture. I instantly fell in love with the actors playing Rachael and Nicholas. Rachael’s college friend was the comedy relief in the movie and I was living for it. Overall, the film kept reminding me of the very erratic Great Gatsby world of the 1920s with the drinking, laughing, and carefree thoughts of behavior throughout the movie.
(This picture is from a scene in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” from Google images.)
The movie was better than the book. Let me explain: the film focuses more on Rachel and Nicholas’s relationship than everyone else. The book flips between perspectives that make the reader skip chapters to get back to either a Rachel, Nicholas, or Eleanor telling the story. I know the story continues on for two more books and I intend to read them all. In essence, everyone should see this movie if you already haven’t, but if you have, see it again. I loved the movie, even more, the second time I saw it. In the end, the romance in the book exceeds the regular cliché expectations of normal romantic comedy stories.