Crazy Rich Asians: The film burdened with ‘crazy’ Asian expectations

August 18, 2018

Movie still from Crazy Rich Asians showing Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding and Constance Wu smiling at one another

With its bold claims of Asian representation, the Hollywood film extravaganza Crazy Rich Asians was destined for intense scrutiny, coming as it does after bitter debates about whitewashing and “yellowface” casting – where white actors attempt to make themselves look Asian.

But like the proverbial “tiger mum”, many Asians have huge expectations for the film – might the weight of it all prove too much?

A wealthy elite, backstabbing intrigue, and a grand romance set in a gilded world of opulence.

Last weekend, a record-breaking half a billion people in China tuned in online to watch their very own crazy rich Asian drama, The Story of Yanxi Palace.

It’s not just Chinese soap operas that are doing well these days. From Bollywood films to Korean dramas to Thai cinema, entertainment made by Asians and starring Asians is thriving like never before.

So when Crazy Rich Asians opens in Asia next week, its claims as a flag bearer for Asian representation may baffle some.

The film, whose cast is entirely Asian, tells a Cinderella-like story: an ordinary Asian-American woman gets swept up in the glamorous world of the uber-elite Chinese when she travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family.

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