Crazy Rich Asians has been a huge success in the box office by any standards. In the three weeks since the movie hit American theaters, it has grossed over $100 million. Not bad for a film with a modest $30 million budget.
But more importantly, the movie has united the Asian American community. Finally, we get to see a movie that resonated with us.
Amazon recommended the Crazy Rich Asians book when I was browsing through the site one day, but I didn't think much of it. I was sure that it was just some random story about snobby rich people I couldn't identify with. I didn't even read the description before moving on with my day, and I promptly forgot about it.
A couple of years later, I found out that the book was being adapted into a movie. Interesting, I thought. There actually might be some validity to the book after all.
I became a bit more lukewarm to the idea.
When the movie came out, my entire Facebook feed went bonkers. My friends were booking entire theaters and screaming about how good the movie was. Some people went to see it twice, three times, a bunch of times.
They went in droves to support an Asian American movie. They walked out of the theaters thinking it was an awesome movie regardless of race.
Since I'm currently not on American soil, I was sad that I couldn't physically be part of the hoopla during opening weekend. But spiritually, I was there. I was soaking in on all the stories and news and blog posts and genuine excitement of the Asian American community as a whole.
No one talked about the movie being snobby or not being able to identify with the ridiculousness of just how extravagant the setup was.
In fact, the opposite was true. Every single Asian, rich or not, identified with Crazy Rich Asians. It wasn't about the wealth, but more about the community, the family, and the immigrant story.
When the movie finally came out in Poland, two weeks after its US release, my expectations were sky high, bordering on impossible.
For two whole weeks, I was poring over reviews, articles, and background stories. I read every comment that my friends posted on Facebook.
Anything and everything I could get my hands on, I read. I followed all the main characters on Instagram. I just couldn't get enough.
When I finally walked into the theater in Kraków, Poland, I was all of a sudden scared that I had inadvertently set myself up for disappointment.
Everyone I knew said that movie was great, but I put it up on such a high pedestal, I was no longer sure.
Five minutes into the movie, my doubts disappeared. I was going to love the movie.
The story itself isn't new. Boy meets girl. Boy's mom disapproves. We can all fill in the blanks from here.
Every scene was very over-the-top for sure. The luxurious outfits, the super expensive jewelry, and the armed security guarding the mansion weren't things that I've ever encountered before.
But yet, it all felt eerily familiar. For the first time on the big screen, I was reminded of my own childhood home, my own family making dumplings, and my own relationships that may or may not have been approved by my parents.
The movie was colorful, cultural, and entertaining. There was never a dull moment. I suspect I would have loved it even if it wasn't about Asian people.
I couldn't help but shed
some a lot of tears throughout the entire movie.
As an Asian American, my experience of the movie was on a deep emotional level. Crazy Rich Asians showed that Asian Americans can play real acting roles in America, not just token parts that fill a gluttony of stereotypes.
Having been stereotyped for the most of my life, it was refreshing to finally see actors who look like me fill prominent roles.
I couldn't help but laugh at the fact that I was sitting in a quiet theater in Poland with people who had no idea about the emotional rollercoaster I was going through. Even Joanna was shocked to see me in such an emotional state.
I've never been so glad to be completely wrong about something. For a book that I didn't think I could identify with, the movie not only met, but exceeded my sky high expectations.
And I couldn't be more grateful.
Until next time,
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