'Crazy Rich Asians': A Movie by Asians for Asians
BY AMBER MAK
It's 2018 in America and we're getting excited about an all-Asian cast in a Hollywood movie? I am not going to lie, I felt the same enthusiasm when I heard about Crazy Rich Asians.
Last Wednesday, August 15th, the all-Asian rom-com was released as a major motion picture thanks to Warner Bros. My excitement grew even more, knowing I'd watch it as soon as it came out. As hard as I tried, though, I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something wrong with being this thrilled. That's when I realized I was excited about a movie that was long overdue.
Crazy Rich Asians' cast is filled with actors and actresses that resembled, acted, and even thought like I did within their fictional characters and the actors themselves outside of the movie's storyline. There were times where I found myself to be the only one laughing in the theater because the scene seemed to only relate to me. Before even sitting down in the theater, I found myself in a YouTube hole watching endless videos of the movie's cast going on their press tour. Interview after interview, I watched and understood each characters' perspective but just like my excitement, something felt off.
Later, I noticed myself disagreeing with their point of view after getting to watch the movie myself. Many of the actors, actresses, directors, and producers said that this was a movie that every type of person could relate to and that was what made it so special. What made Crazy Rich Asians special was the fact that it was a movie made by Asians for Asians.
Yes, the movie does have characters of diverse backgrounds, but that is because the movie was made up of only Asians. In order to remain diverse, the directors had to include characters in there that did not fit all Asian stereotypes. Overall, though, the movie means something to my culture because it showcases a part of the world many people do not look at with a positive perspective. Crazy Rich Asians gives people a way to divert from Asian stereotypes and open their minds to why Asian people act and think a certain way. It is an honest depiction that Asians would understand most and rightfully so since that's not always the case.
Our film is released today. This is a photo of me and the incredible Lisa Lu, just before we filmed one of our scenes together for #CrazyRichAsians. Lisa starred in The Joy Luck Club 25 years ago - the last time Hollywood made a film with Asian leads, centred around a contemporary Asian/Asian-American experience. It's been *25. Years.* I feel so many things - grateful, proud, happy, emotional - that we have made it to this point and that we can finally share our film with the world. I know that this is just one film - one story - and that it can't be all things to all people. But I hope it is just the beginning. That it opens the door to more diverse, inclusive and authentic storytelling, not just from other Asian perspectives but any group which has been underrepresented in the past. That any young girl or boy watching it will feel that they are worthy of being the centre of their own narrative. That anything is possible. With love and thanks xxx P.S. If you're planning on seeing the film, please consider going this opening weekend (Wed-Sat). Those are the numbers that matter most to studios. P.P.S. Do stay for the end credits for a bonus surprise! P.P.P.S. Why not see BlacKkKlansman too 💪🏼💪🏾💪🏿 P.P.P.P.S @jonmchu @kevinkwanbooks @ninajacobson @crashbpm @johnpenotti thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤️
Storylines within the movie like Eleanor being discriminated against for solely being Asian or Nick's grandmother raising him even when his parents are in the picture are some of the parts in Crazy Rich Asians where I felt a strong connection to the characters and the plot. These are pieces of Asian culture that I've either witnessed or experienced myself. To see them played out on the big screen as well as advertised all over billboards and social media just like other movies was where my excitement might have been rooted in.
The idea that Crazy Rich Asians was created for my people and I to laugh, cry, and relate to makes this movie worth watching. Asian representation in Hollywood cinema may seem foreign now, but this is just the beginning. Here's to many more major movies in which I can wholeheartedly understand and relate to on a deeper level.
Lead Image Credit: Tumblr