|At the wedding of a secondary character the church is converted|
to a jungle and the aisle becomes a pond (the bride wore boots)
I missed seeing Crazy Rich Asians
in the theaters last year. When the disk finally made it to the top of the Netflix queue, I popped it in the player.
Nearly every Asian actor on American television had a part, and, as the title promised, there were over-the-top scenes of billionaires showing off their wealth.
But pictures of the lifestyles of rich and famous Asians---specifically, Singaporean Chinese---do not a story make, so the writers basically stole the plot of a dozen "royal-loves-commoner" Hallmark movies:
Handsome prince of a small European country comes to America--for college, for life experience, or to visit friends.
He falls for a girl, who along with every other American, has no idea who he is. He loves her because she appreciates him for himself, not for his title or money.
He has to reveal his identity because he needs the blessing of his mother, the Queen. (The King died long ago; in this movie he's merely absent.)
He can't put off the revelation because he has to go home to be coronated; in many Hallmark movies he also must have named his future queen.
The Queen and her aides disapprove of this American who has no training in royal duties and manners.
However, the common folk and low-level palace workers come to love her.
The middle part of the story is about how she tries to navigate the treacherous shoals of palace intrigue, not only the Queen's machinations but also a rival of noble blood, often someone who has known the Prince since childhood.
The Prince's love never wavers, but near the end of the movie she returns to America to save him from more damage to his status and authority.
The Queen, remembering how in her own life she chose duty over passion, sees the misery in her son. She realizes that the girl loves the Prince so deeply that she will give up her own future happiness for his sake.
The Queen welcomes her future daughter-in-law to the kingdom, and they all live happily ever after.
The would-be "princess", Rachel Chu (played by Constance Wu), is the everywoman / Luke Skywalker / Harry Potter character through whose eyes the audience discovers a vast new world. She's a NYU Finance prof whose skill at gaming and game theory later proves useful.
But Crazy Rich Asians
is really about the business matriarch, Eleanor Young (played by Michelle Yeoh), who is transformed from disapproving Queen to another mother who wants her son to be happy. (Though Rachel and "prince" Nick Young get most of the screen time, one hint that the movie is about Eleanor is the opening scene, a flashback to 1995, in which Eleanor must assert herself against snooty London hotel staff.)
The movie is rife with references that ABC's (American-born Chinese) will appreciate, e.g., the frugality of the elderly regardless of their wealth, how everyone knows how to play mah-jongg, and how every woman knows how to cook.
I liked the movie because of its glimpses into how the non-American overseas Chinese .001% live, and I also like Hallmark movies
. But if the latter are not your cup of tea, dear reader, then you may wish to give this one a pass.