Crazy Rich Asians Brings Diversity to the Silver Screen


Crazy Rich Asians features an all-Asian cast led by actors Constance Wu and Henry Golding

Amelie Liu, Writer

Released across America on August 15 of 2018, romantic comedy-drama Crazy Rich Asians follows the story of New Yorker Rachel Chu as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore.

Nick neglects to mention a few key details about his life: not only is he a part of one of Singapore’s most wealthy families, but he is also one of the most sought-after bachelors in the country. Rachel is prepared for neither the target placed on her back, nor the attacks fired by jealous admirers and even Nick’s own disapproving mother.

As of October 2018, the film became the highest grossing romantic comedy of the last decade. Why was the movie such a nation-wide sensation? Crazy Rich Asians may have been just a rom-com to others, but the introduction of an all-Asian cast is seen as a historical breakthrough for Asians, and more specifically, Asians in Hollywood.

Representation this significant is rare for Asians, which is why Crazy Rich Asians is such a powerful movie. Aya Galang (10), a Filipino sophomore, shares that when she was young, “[she] would just look for literally anyone that closely resembles [her] … even if she was white.”

Students like Galang feel that having to search for representation should not be the reality for young Asian children. The movie is a step towards every child having someone like them to look up to on the big screen.

Others at Brookfield East feel the film played a pivotal role in changing the way Hollywood perceives Asians. Many students like Amy Lieu (10), a Vietnamese sophomore, were proud and excited when they were finally able to watch a movie starring several strong Asian actors and actresses like Constance Wu and Ken Jeong.

Lieu feels that an all-Asian cast is important because many of the characters written as Asian “are actually played by Caucasian, white people – for example, Ghost in the Shell.”

As Galang points out, “they chose Scarlett Johansson over an Asian actress when there are plenty of Asian actresses perfectly capable of taking that role.”

Citing Johansson and countless other examples, Lieu concludes that Hollywood sees Asians and Asian culture as expendable, not important enough to be a priority.

Regardless of race, Jessica Bade (10) believes that that Crazy Rich Asians had an impressive cast. She argues that they set the bar regarding the way people view Asians.

Lieu adds that the “scope of roles we, [as Asians], play” has been expanded by the movie. It breaks society’s stereotypes, and most importantly, normalizes being Asian.

In almost all movies prior, Asian characters are presented as “the shy one” or “the nerd” – there is not much of a spectrum in the type of roles Asians are allowed to play.

Now that we have seen a successful big-screen movie starring Asians who play characters other than a stereotypical nerd or martial arts student, Hollywood can realize that Asians have the capability to play roles outside of old stereotypes.

Crazy Rich Asians is a movie of great influence. It has impacted people across the globe and has set a precedent for movies to come. So, one big question remains: what’s next?