Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Despite check marking all the required boxes of a typical rom-com formula, Crazy Rich Asians still breathes an air of freshness into the classic Hollywood genre with its opulent set pieces & first-rate storytelling. An exquisite slice of pure escapism & dazzling beauty, it is as rich & flavourful in content as it is sumptuous in its imagery, and is one rare major Hollywood studio production to feature an all-Asian ensemble.
The story follows an American-born Chinese economics professor who decides to accompany her boyfriend to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding only to learn that her partner’s family is one of Asia’s wealthiest and he himself is his country’s most sought-after bachelor. Hoping to make a first good impression, she not only has to live up to their high expectations but must also watch out for other jealous socialites.
Stylishly directed by Jon M. Chu, the film is heartfelt & hilarious in just the right doses and relies on its interesting set of characters to steer it past the finish line. The set up is brisk, the plot outline is simple and it’s a steep dive into the lives of the riches but what makes it such a refreshing ride is the strong central romance that brims with plenty of heart & honesty, and is all the more uplifted by terrific chemistry between the leads.
The supporting characters are just as interesting, each with defining traits of their own, and the rapport between them all is smooth & fluent. Humour is well-timed and its sense of fun & adventurous vibe is never lost. The Asian cultural elements & traditions strike a tone of familiarity every now n then and is handled with care & respect. The picture strives for a balance between its contemporary romance & vintage sensibilities, and does well at it.
The production design team delivers some lavish set pieces, refined to smallest of details, and the exotic locations further add to its beauty. That wedding sequence in itself is a stuff of dreams: Pure, elegant & endearing. Another major highlight is the costume design, for the film scores high in fashion appeal and those attires greatly magnify the already stellar looking sets. The other technical aspects have their own little surprises but these two categories definitely stand out.
Cinematography employs vibrant colour palette, exquisite camerawork & bright lighting to give the picture a radiant touch & buoyant feel. Editing is tight and it makes sure the narrative flow remains smooth and pacing is steady throughout its 2 hours runtime. There is barely anything in the story that feels out of place and whatever does is joyful enough to not be a complaint. Music is in sync with unfolding events at all times and incorporates fresh cover versions of few notable songs.
Coming to the performances, the film packs a spectacular cast in Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu & others and everyone does a fantastic job with their respective roles. While Wu & Golding make for one charming couple with likeable personalities, it is Yeoh who steals the show with her deftly measured & wonderfully layered input. The rest of the cast is no slouch, for there are more quality performances than expected as even tertiary characters manage to leave their little marks.
On an overall scale, Crazy Rich Asians is the rom-com of the year and is definitely one of the most enjoyable, entertaining & endearing films of 2018. Crafted with passion, told with sincerity and all the more enlivened by its arresting set pieces, mesmerising beauty & wholehearted performances, the film is a 24-carat delight that promises a colourful, amusing & satisfying ride and delivers it in spades. Proving that it’s not star power but content quality that filmgoers embrace more, the highest grossing rom-com in a decade is totally worth your time & money.