‘It’s about time somebody stood up to Auntie Eleanor. But you, not me, oh god. She can’t ever know I was here.’
Dear reader, I loved it. After spending the summer watching romantic comedies (click here if you’re feeling nosy and want to check my viewing log) watching this film like the perfect way to end the list and my summer. After observing the various ‘golden ages’ of romantic comedies, observing the patterns, loving the love and lamenting the fact they ‘don’t make them like they used to’ – they’re back bitches! Having had an initial UK release date of November (months after the US…) then bringing it forward to September, with Cineworld putting on a screening for its unlimited card holders – the excitement levels were high. This is a film that meets the sky high anticipation then leaps above it with ease.
Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is a successful economics professor at NYY – the youngest member of the staff. She’s been dating Nick Young (Henry Golding) for the past year, and things are going really well. So much so he’s asked her to come home with him to Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding and meet his family. Rachel readily agrees, then shortly finds out that her Nick Young is the Nick Young, the heir apparent an incredibly wealthy family and one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Rachel’s visit to Singapore will expose her to a whole lot of Rich and even more Crazy…
It’s hard to write about how much I loved this film without descending simply into superlatives, metaphors and superlative metaphors. So I’ll give into temptation. Watching this film is like being wrapped in a giant hug, it’s cosy, warm and perfect escapism. Although not everyone is the film is ‘nice’ or ‘lovely’ there are so many people in the film who are. When watching, it feels like you’re amongst friends rather than watching character in a film. Wu and Golding make for excellent leads; they have an enjoyable and heartwarming chemistry that’s a real pleasure to watch playout. As with the greats of the Romcom genre, we become invested in their relationship from the outset and experience the obstacles almost as greatly as they do. Wu as Rachel is the perfect everywoman, though she may get things ‘wrong’ she has a good and loving heart. Golding is a leading man in the vein of Colin Firth in the Bridget Jones series, dapper and noble.
Also like it’s great predecessors, there’s a phenomenal ensemble cast. Gemma Chan as Astrid, Nick’s cousin, is superb as one of Rachel’s allies. She’s heartbreaking to watch, such is the depth and power of her performance. One of the film’s most familiar faces, Ken Jeong, brings some excellent laughs. Nico Santos is an absolute delight as Nick’s rebellious cousin Oliver. But it’s Awkwafina, as Rachel’s best friend, who steals the film. Just as she did with this year’s Ocean’s Eight. Her innate charm and charisma radiate off the screen; she truly has funny bones.
But those great performances can only happen with good material. This film has great material. The story is relatively simple but truly effective, told with the required lightness of touch but genuine heart. The dialogue is zanny and zingy. The direction and cinematography is consistently beautiful. The editing generates one of the funniest gags I’ve seen in cinema this year. The conventions of the romcom (my personal favourite being the makeover montage) are all present and correct. But, instead of feeling over familiar or tired, these tropes feel revitalised and fresh – like a tribute to the past but made new and relatable.
The end result is the film the world needs right now. Utter joy from start to finish.
Crazy Rich Asians is in UK cinemas from September 14th.