Under the guise of being a reversal of the classic Cinderella story, Crazy Rich Asians gives us a super-smart, pretty Chinese-American woman who is a professor of Economics at NYU in love with a super-smart, handsome Chinese man from Singapore. He has to go home to be best man at a wedding and wants to take her along to meet his family. When they get there, she discovers that he forgot to mention that he is the scion of the Chinese Rockefellers - the wealthiest family with the best real estate, most lavish parties and best known name in that part of the world. Of course she cares only about true love, not money.
Our heroine is the daughter of a single mother - both women climbed their respective ladders of success through hard work and determination. Contrast this with the caricatures of vapid Chinese society women of Singapore who live only for conspicuous consumption of clothes, jewels, homes, plastic surgery and slavish imitation of western excess. Even though this movie belongs in the typical rom-com genre, this caricature of the wealthy class is genuinely offensive, particularly at a time when we are not allowed to spoof other minorities and are currently obsessed with parity in film opportunities for minority women. Are Chinese women excluded from this category because they tend to be well-educated, self-directed, ambitious and successful whenever there’s an open opportunity? Are they like the majority Asian students at Stuyvesant who are to be denied entrance in order to share the limited academic space with students without their work ethic who demand entrance based on the color of their skin?
Crazy Rich Asians are grown-up Mean Girls, threatened by our heroine who has won the hero by her own sterling values and kind heart (also being good at game theory). We know how this fairy tale ends and you won’t be disappointed by the silly liveliness of the movie. But while the industry has caved to the pressure of the LGBT insistence that a transgender part must go to a transgender actor, and more minorities must be hired in all aspects of film-making - it’s truly crazy that the portrayal of the Chinese upper class is so monolithically disparaging.
On the bright side, judging from the fact that Chinese parents don’t want their children in English as a Second Language class, and the fact that the majority of Asian students at Stuyvesant are lower to lower-middle class, I doubt that they’ll waste their time feeling “humiliated or offended” by the movie’s nasty caricatures. They’ve got better goals on their minds - to work hard, ignore setbacks and get where they want to be the old -fashioned way - by earning it.
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