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Film features first all-Asian cast in 25 years

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Review

Olivia Nobles

Staff Writer

“Crazy Rich Asians,” the first Hollywood release with an all-Asian cast in 25 years, has accrued critical acclaim in the five weeks since its release.

According to boxofficemojo.com, in a little over a month, the romantic comedy has consistently remained in the box office top ten and currently has a rating of 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film has received considerable praise for diversifying the options currently in theaters, but it has also received backlash from critics who claim the movie isn’t closely representative of Asian culture or the diversity within Asia.

The last time American audiences saw an all-Asian cast, it was 1993 during the release of “The Joy Luck Club,” and many viewers and critics alike have praised “Crazy Rich Asians” for picking up where it left off. The film features a largely Chinese cast, is set in Singapore, and the soundtrack features several Chinese artists.

The story emphasizes various aspects of Chinese culture, but its reception in the Chinese community has been varied. “Crazy Rich Asians” has not yet been released in China, though an application for official release has been filed.

Users of the Chinese website Douban have made their opinions on the movie heard. It currently has a 7 out of 10-star rating, and many users remark that it’s refreshing to see a movie about Chinese culture produced in a western country.

Criticism has emerged from Singapore over the film. One critic, Cat Wang, wrote on her Twitter that, once removed from a Western context and placed into a Singaporean one, the film “renders minorities invisible.”

“The movie perpetuates the misguided view that to be Asian means to be Chinese,” Wang said.

When viewing “Crazy Rich Asians” removed from any political sphere, the movie is largely enjoyable.

The plot of a woman from a modest background falling in love with a wealthy heir, while not exactly original, is always a fun story. The redemption arc for the unsavory character of the snobbish mother is acute but effective, and the comedic timing resulted in audible laughter throughout the theater when I went to see the movie myself.

“Crazy Rich Asians” may not be the most ideal representation of Asian culture, but it is a sorely needed one nonetheless.

Critics have praised it for the much-needed diversity it brings to the largely white realm of Hollywood, and critics have also slammed the movie for being narrow and stereotypical. The plot, while not jaw-droppingly unique, captures the viewer’s attention effectively.

We can only hope Hollywood uses this film as a stepping stone for producing more movies with diverse casts, rather than continuing to rely so heavily on the primarily white actors it has been working with for so long.

There is so much talent to be found from actors of other cultures — one such example being Awkwafina, who portrays the hilarious Peik Lin Goh in “Crazy Rich Asians” — so it would be a shame if Hollywood didn’t continue to give these actors a chance to show what they are capable of, creating interesting roles for them in the future and not just continuing to cast them as one-sided stereotypes as so commonly occurs.

No matter whether you’re going for the diverse cast, the romantic love story, the stunning costumes and sets or the hilarious antics of Peik and her father, any audience member can find something to enjoy while watching “Crazy Rich Asians.”