As I walked out in the middle of “Crazy Rich Asians”, I felt uncomfortable and conflicted. My reaction is probably confusing and surprising. After all, “Crazy Rich Asians” is a Hollywood success featuring an all Asian cast.
I’m Asian. I should be proud of its success? My answer is no.
While positive depictions of Asians on the big screen are important, the movie is more fantasy than reality. It simply doesn’t paint the real pictures of the lives of Asians in the U.S.
Both of the main characters are NYU grads. I, as a junior at NYU, can assure you that only Asian international students in “the 1%” can relate to such an opulent lifestyle.
Yes, China is a rising economy. And we’ve all seen the stories of the kids of the Chinese ‘rich and famous’. Yet, it’s just not reality. Most Chinese parents struggle and sacrifice to send their kids abroad. And these kids are grateful. Further, it’s a small percentage of families that can even afford this. The average amount of undergrad tuition in the U.S. is as much as a small house or new car in China.
Many of my friends and I meticulously manage our purchasing habits. I even keep an Excel sheet to manage my tight budget. We share coupons and Apps, such as Mealpal, to lower our costs.
In short, it’s not easy to study abroad. Yet, the main characters in “Crazy Rich Asians” are carefree- his family literally arranges and plans everything for him. Its an insult to the majority of Asians that succeed through hard work and sacrifice.
At the beginning of the film, there is an amusing scene. Mrs. Yang (played by Yang Ziqiong) fights against discrimination by displaying her wealth.
Its refreshing, but its also a contradiction. Does discrimination truly end when your rich and powerful?
Yes, “Crazy Rich Asians” is a feel-good, RomCom, but its just not a good portrayal of Asians in the U.S.
What do you think about “Crazy Rich Asians”? What worked and what did not? Let me know in the comments below!