Crazy Rich Asians

LetterboxD review link

Crazy Rich Asians was one of the best times I’ve had at the movies this year. It was a joyous experience, sharing the theater with casual and repeat movie-goers who were there to have their spirits lifted and escape from the drab social realities of our year. And on that point, it delivered. Having spent a little time in Singapore, too, I’ll say it did a good job of capturing just how ostentatious and luxurious that city-state is. Like very few places on earth.

I do feel, though, that the critical and audience focus on representation on screen left me wanting. I understand the desire of young Asian-American writers and viewers to see faces and families like theirs on screen. For a generation of Rom-Com viewers, this was one of the first times a film, a marketing campaign, a cultural moment centered on beautiful Asian actors. But, personally, I’ve never had a hard time falling in love with Rom Coms because they’ve featured actors or families different from mine. That’s part of the magic of movies (and stories, more generally). It’s quite easy for me to imagine myself as Harry or Sally (depending on the day) when I watch When Harry Met Sally. I wish the formulation of representation was more about teaching white Americans the benefit of going to see a movie like Crazy Rich Asians and imagining themselves as Constance Wu or Henry Golding. That’s the second half of the conversation about representation that I always wish we could include. Maybe we’ll get there in 2019 or 2020.