Boise Highlights

First All Asian Movie in 25 Years Breaks Stereotypes

Constance+Wu+and+Henry+Golding+posing+for+the+Crazy+Rich+Asians+movie+poster.
Constance Wu and Henry Golding posing for the Crazy Rich Asians movie poster.

Constance Wu and Henry Golding posing for the Crazy Rich Asians movie poster.

Photo Credit: Warner Brothers

Photo Credit: Warner Brothers

Constance Wu and Henry Golding posing for the Crazy Rich Asians movie poster.

Luiza Decenzi, Reporter

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The long anticipated movie Crazy Rich Asians premiered on August 15th, collecting more than 26 million entirely on the opening weekend. The first movie with an all Asian cast in 25 years, since the Joy Luck Club aired in 1993, many had been counting the days for it to arrive at the movie theater.

“It just meant a lot to see representation on the screen, especially when that is not very common in Hollywood anymore,” says student Jennifer Wong, “I think it was time for some Asian representation.”

Crazy Rich Asians, originally a book by Kevin Kwan, is a romantic comedy following a couple, Rachel Chu and Nick Young, visiting Young’s wealthy family in Singapore. Early in production, the movie became widely popular and talked about in Social Media due to its Asian casting without the stereotypes most movies place into their characters.

Directed by Jon M. Chu, an American filmmaker with Taiwanese and Chinese descent, the movie managed to depict the many layers and emotions of its characters, setting itself apart from many other movies with Asian roles. “The stereotypes that come with Asian actors is that we are not expressive,” asserts Wong, “the roles that they play just showcases how Asians can be seen as human and non just a stereotypes.”

The short list of Asian roles in many movies usually includes a very stereotypical style, such as being shy, having trouble speaking English, being incredibly invested in their studies, and as always, being proficient at martial arts.

“It’s just one ‘cookie cutter’ kind of image of what an Asian is,” Wong noted, “And that’s really detrimental to how people see or view Asians.”  Crazy Rich Asians on the other hand, maintained their characters as they are told in the book, realistic and having strong personalities.

The film features characters from different backgrounds, having contrasting personalities and problems. Rachel is American raised by a single mother, meanwhile Nick was born Singapore to a very wealthy family. The same applies to the supporting characters such as Astrid, a fashionable and strong woman, Peik Lin, a confident and lighthearted character, and Eleanor, Nick’s mother, who is overprotective, classy, and self-assured.

The movie is also a great advance in the movie industry. Crazy Rich Asians is not simply important because it is an all Asian film, but also because it is a romantic movie with an Asian cast. American romantic comedies with this amount of representation are scarce, and this movie could potentially inspire advances in that field. On that subject, Wong added “the World is like ‘oh wow Asians can play romantic leads’ that is huge.”

Although most were excited about the movie launch there were those who were disappointed by the leading male casting.

Henry Golding, the actor playing Nick Young, was criticized by many fans of the book that hoped for a ‘full-Asian’ actor. Golding was born in Malaysia to Malaysian mother and an English father.

“Other people might be bothered, but personally I’m not,” Wong added her individual opinion on the subject, “Honestly, just because you are half something doesn’t mean that you are not Asian.” She later added that in the future she hopes to the casting of movies being true to the character with the same nationality, but for now, she stands by the casting director’s choice.

When asked about the movie’s impact on the World, Wong responded by saying “It encourages actors of color to step out… this movie worked, this movie is successful, we should cast more minorities in huge roles.”

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First All Asian Movie in 25 Years Breaks Stereotypes