This sweet, romantic comedy with its all-Asian cast has definitely touched a collective nerve amongst Asians of Chinese origin (and others) everywhere. The film was made in my home country of MALAYSIA and even has a scene of our stunning beach resorts. It also features the famed SINGAPORE skyline with their unmistakable “metal trees” and bright lights. So the settings are spectacular and extremely yummy.
In the USA and South East Asia, many foreign- born Chinese (FBC) are going to the cinema in droves to watch the film, and especially to see the super handsome scion of super rich Singapore family Nick Young introduce his smart and pretty but not so rich fiancée to his snobbish mother and wealthy friends from his home town of Singapore and taste the lifestyle of his privileged crowd of friends, which include catty gossipy ex girlfriends and spoiled over-indulged rich kids.
Based on the first of Kevin Kwan’s trilogy of books about the rich in Asia and China, the film topped the US box office at its opening weekend helped along by the lots of hype on social media. The movie continues to draw people to get a peep into the lives of wealthy foreign-born Chinese. It is about Asians, but Chinese Asians living outside of mainland China.
Many asked me after I went to the Premiere of the film here in Kuala Lumpur (hosted by Winnie Sin of Rafflesia whose beautiful jade is featured as part of Michelle Yeoh’s wardrobe) if I liked the movie, and I have to confess YES I did, but with some reservations.
I suspect I can guess some of the “families” featured in Kwan’s books; the super rich of South East Asia cannot stay completely under the radar to an ex-Hong Kong banker like me, but like many who live here, for us, this is part of the appeal of CRAZY RICH ASIANS – to guess who the characters and families are based on. After watching the film, it really didn’t matter too much because I truly got swept into the Cinderella-like love story set against the glitz and glamour that is the Singapore of today.
I found the movie funny, happy, entertaining and very sweet, complete with snobbish MIL (Mother in law) from hell, super attractive hero and very vulnerable heroine. But the appeal of the film for me lies not in its story line, for it is one that applies across all races; I was more taken by the fact that the movie showcases an all-Asian cast in a Hollywood-style production set in glitzy Singapore. It also captures the ambience and beautiful islands and food courts of Malaysia with such delicious effectiveness, and brings to light the beauty of our lifestyle to the rest of the world.
I live in Malaysia and am very familiar with Singapore, and believe me, we really are as happy and hang-loose as the film depicts us to be. We are comfortable wearing couture or jeans. We dine on hawker food in massive open air food courts, but we are also comfortable eating western cuisine inside restaurants with modern decor. And underlying all this and in the privacy of our homes, we make sure our homes are designed to excellent FENG SHUI principles. All wealthy families here (Chinese and in some cases Indians and Malays too) follow feng shui guidelines no matter how modern our décor may be. This is part of lifestyle in our part of the world. Many Chinese families have their private feng shui consultant to ensure their wealth stays intact, their children marry “well” and their privacy is assured.
Rich Asians are seldom crazy (hahaha) – they are dead serious and they are very private. They like to stay low profile.
Which is why Kevin Kwan’s trilogy of books makes such great reads, and the movie so entertaining.
The film takes us into the lives of those we gossip about but don’t really know. Watching the film, you will discover that the rich really are not so different from everyone else, except they play out their lives in colonial era type spacious redecorated houses or very modern glass and chrome mansions, enjoy amazing holidays on super yachts, shop in Paris and possess fancy wardrobes filled with designer clothes, bags and jewellery.
If you want a glimpse into the carefree world of Asia’s super rich go watch CRA and come away feeling very good because at the heart of this film is a simple and appealing and sweet love story!