Tuesday 28 August 2018
Henry Golding, the nasi lemak of the movie industry. Photo: Delvin Xian/Imagerom

Crazy Rich Asians has been out for a week now and one thing is clear: people cannot get enough of it. It’s been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and unsurprisingly, the Twittersphere is alight with all manner of commentary and observations relating to the hit.

The best though, has to come from our own doctor turned comedian, Dr Jason Leong:

It all makes sense, now, doesn’t it. Henry Golding is nasi lemak!

Haters gon’ hate though, with some not happy with the ‘misrepresentation’ of Asians in the film and finding the ultra-rich characters difficult to relate to, to which, this seems a pertinent observation:

Joking aside though, it blew initial box office estimates out of the water, raking in US$25m in its first week alone. In a show of its popularity, this second week has seen it hold the #1 spot, dropping a tiny 6% compared to an average drop of 44.8% for other recent comedy blockbusters.

It’s been touted as a symbol of changing times in Hollywood, with numerous people tweeting its significance and wider implications for the portrayal of Asians in show business:

What can I really say about this movie that hasn’t been said by absolutely everyone who has seen it. I’ve been excited to see this since production was announced but I could have never imagined how wonderful it would be. I planned on seeing it, making a few jokes about how it checked all the boxes for me (CRAZY ☑️ RICH ☑️ ASIAN ☑️) but the feeling I got during the credits, watching John dance with my little black asian mashup baby bear luna tunes, was a feeling I haven’t had at the end of any other movies. Luna, aside from being blown away by the general movie-going experience (yep she’s 13 now, time flies) looked up at @constancewu’s mother and yelled “yāy!” (“Grandma” in thai) because she saw someone who looked like her yāy. Someone beautiful and aspirational. It was something that simple that made my heart just…warm. That made me happy. It made me happy to see this over the top story done from so many angles, some I could totally understand because of my own confusing Asian American upbringing. I loved it all, from the quieter moments of talking around the table of sacrifice and past hardships to the spectacle of the bachelor party. Finding that I could cry watching the most over the top aisle walk on the planet. You never know how much you miss being represented on screen until you actually see what it’s like to be represented. And represented by all different types of characters with all different types of personalities, just like any other great movie. Also aside from all that, it’s just colorful, fun and big as fuck. God I love a rom com. God I loved it all. Thank you guys for making this movie.

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on

Genre-wise, Crazy Rich Asians has never pretended to be anything other than a rom-com, but it’s important to note that it isn’t just a fluffy rom-com.

As a production, as a vehicle for contemporary Asian expression, what Crazy Rich Asians wants to say is that it means something and, to a wider extent, Asians mean something.

It doesn’t seem to just be striking a chord with Asian audiences, non-Asians are clearly enjoying it too. People see movies all the time, but something about Crazy Rich Asians is proving to be quite moving in a way that perhaps, less and less movies seem to be.

It was a passion project for director John Chu, who very convincingly appealed to Coldplay for the permission to use their 2000 hit ‘Yellow’ in the film:

Evidently, Coldplay were sufficiently convinced, which also led to this mandarin cover of ‘Yellow’ by University of Southern California student Katherine Ho:

We’ll bet you’ve never heard ‘Yellow’ like that. Doesn’t it make you feel all the feels?

Given that it was filmed predominantly in Singapore and Malaysia, it put a spotlight on the two nations and also on the friendly sibling rivalry:

But you know what? At the end of the day, Malaysian, Singaporean, Korean, Chinese – it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Asians are finally getting the time of day and that should always be something to celebrate, rom-com or not. We’re all on the same side.

READ: Here’s What We Really Thought of Crazy Rich Asians