Crazy Rich Asians

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Crazy Rich Asians Movie Poster Image
Messages, role models stand out in culture-clash romcom.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 121 minutes
 Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 20 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Love yourself, stay true to yourself, stay in control. Address problems with dignity and class, not by losing control of your anger. Solve problems by tapping into your personal skill set. By comparing parenting philosophies of main characters' families, opens viewers to the perspective that the American way isn't the only way. Film's very release offers a positive message of progress through diversity and representation in storytelling.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rachel is a positive representation for Asian Americans and women: strong, intelligent, confident and exercises self-control, integrity, and good judgment. She's an economics professor who specializes in game theory -- an area often stereotypically portrayed as a man's field. In a situation where she can feel out of her league, Rachel doesn't change or try to be something she's not. Even in her own turmoil, she makes time to be a good friend to others. She exemplifies the motto, "when they go low, we go high." Other characters aren't as perfect: some pretty terrible "mean girl" behavior (snide comments about women's physical appearance/attributes) and some stereotyping of a gay character.

Violence

Security guards carry bayonets. Adults reminisce about a "lame" fistfight from their childhood. A man is playfully smacked in the groin. Mean behavior.

Sex

Romance and kissing (both sweet/sincere and passionately over the top). An actress who's rumored to work in porn is seen making out with her boyfriend, who puts his hand on her breast and her thigh. A couple emerges from the bushes, the man with his pants around his ankles. A couple kisses after waking up in the same bed; the woman doesn't appear to be dressed under the covers. An out-of-wedlock pregnancy is mentioned. Infidelity within a marriage is discussed, including by married men with their arms around women who aren't their wives. A man puts down a woman's breast size. Ample close-ups of shirtless men.

Language

Language isn't constant but includes a use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "a--hole," "balls," "bulls--t," "bitch," "douche nozzle," "goddammit," "hells yeah," "hookers," "slutty," "sucks," "damn," "crap," and "t-ts." "Oh my God!" and "Jesus" are used as exclamations. "Bitch" is scrawled on a wall by bullies. A derogatory ethnic slur is mentioned between people of the target ethnicity to give insight to prejudice.

Consumerism

Dior, Dolce and Gabbana, Chanel No. 5, Jimmy Choo, Raffles Hotel, Audi, and Phillips are seen/mentioned.Excessive spending on lavish parties, jewelry, homes, shopping sprees, clothes, and cars is depicted as a symbol of status. Wealthy characters attend elite colleges. Money is thrown into the air. The obnoxious abuse of wealth is in the title; while it's all played for ridiculousness, the message remains: People of significance spend, spend, spend -- and boy, is it fun!   

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink champagne, beer, and cocktails throughout the film. No one appears to overdo it, but when one character stands up for his girlfriend, he's called out to be drunk -- and he flies a helicopter immediately afterward. One character's hearty sniff and nose rubbing are meant to indicate that he's snorted cocaine. Verbal references to past use of cigarettes and cigars; a cigar is smoked at a party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crazy Rich Asians is a book-based romcom that centers on Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a smart, independent Chinese American economics professor who's in love with Nick Young (Henry Golding), who turns out to be from an insanely wealthy Singapore family. The world of materialism, obscene wealth, status, and expectation that Rachel encounters there is totally over the top: Money is literally thrown in the air. Expect to hear some strong language (including "s--t," "t-ts," and more) and see drinking during many party scenes; cocaine use is also briefly implied. Couples kiss, and sex is suggested but not shown; one actress is rumored to be a porn star, and men make snide comments about women's cosmetic surgery and physical appearance (including small breasts). That said, women aren't objectified overall; instead, the camera tends to linger on shirtless men. The very rare mainstream Hollywood release to feature an all-Asian cast, the film avoids Asian stereotypes -- but it does have a fairly stereotypical gay character. And the cattiness is off the charts, with some fairly shocking "mean girl" behavior. But it's refreshing to see a romcom heroine who doesn't need saving by a man (Rachel loves her life, and she and Nick have a healthy, respectful relationship), and the film has strong messages about loving yourself, staying in control, and addressing problems with dignity and class.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysmiles33 August 18, 2018

Frothy, funny, romantic comedy suitable for mature tweens

We brought my 9 and 12 year old daughters to see this fantastic movie. Since I read all 3 novels and another friend had seen the movie in a special preview, I k... Continue reading
Parent Written byDan G. August 19, 2018

Quite a lot of sexually inappropriate material and some bad langauge for a family movie

Pre-marital sexual relations are strongly suggested as well as quite a bit of sexually themed humor. As typical of many PG-13 movies, there is language that wo... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bysubbaiahsruthi97 August 11, 2018
Teen, 14 years old Written byABKroopkin August 16, 2018

Funny, in-depth Comedy

There's a lot of suggestive content, but a great role model and very funny characters. There's quite a bit of swearing, as well as some touchy subject... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on Kevin Kwan's best-selling novel, CRAZY RICH ASIANS is the story of Chinese American economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), who travels to Singapore to attend a wedding with her boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding). Rachel will be meeting Nick's family for the first time, and it turns out she's woefully unprepared. She has no idea that not only are the Youngs wealthy, but they're a prestigious "old money" family, and Nick is essentially the prince of Singapore. Rachel has to quickly adapt to Chinese culture, jealous ex-girlfriends, and Nick's controlling mother (Michelle Yeoh), who believes her son must marry a woman with stature. If Rachel can't handle things, she risks losing the love of her life. 

Is it any good?

This movie will make you fall in love with romantic comedies again. It's not so much that Crazy Rich Asians' storyline is original as it is well done; it rarely goes for the cliché. Romcoms have a tendency to portray their heroines as somewhat bumbling, not quite having their act together. But that's not Rachel Chu: She's capable, clever, and in control. She may be temporarily thrown off by the unfriendlies in Nick's life, but she never loses her footing. She's a well-drawn, down-to-earth character who isn't so much relatable as aspirational, and Wu plays her to a tee. The other women in the cast are great, too. Yeoh adds depth to the icy mother who sees Rachel as a threat to her family. And as Nick's glamorous cousin Astrid, Gemma Chan gives a meaty performance as her character deals with the complexities of a marriage in which the wife is rich and the husband is not in a traditional male-driven society. But it's Awkwafina who runs away with the show, inspiring peals of laughter as Rachel's college buddy, Goh Peik Lin, who speaks with a Miley Cyrus-type cadence, attitude, and delivery. Every scene with her in it is 10 times funnier, and when Ken Jeong is added to the mix as her father, the duo make a comic combination that leaps off the screen.

It's impossible not to notice the movie's lingering shots of men's bare chests, but this reverse objectification is subversively intentional: Asian men are rarely portrayed as sexy or appealing in the media, and the drooling cinematography is intended to challenge the idea that Asian men are undesirable. And amid all the humor and attempts to overthrow the anti-Asian bias in Hollywood movies, director Jon M. Chu also delivers a lovely love story. One scene in particular: During a preposterously over-the-top wedding, the audience is brought to tears by a touching affirmation that, no matter the pain and pleasure that money brings, it’s still love that makes the world go round. Crazy Rich Asians will end up on the Best Romantic Comedies in History list because it's actually not about getting the guy; Rachel proves that the greatest love of all is loving yourself (and your mama!).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way American and Chinese cultures are portrayed in Crazy Rich Asians. American culture is presented as prioritizing the pursuit of career, ambition, and happiness, while Chinese culture is shown emphasizing family first, even if that means individual sacrifice. What are the pros and cons of each philosophy?

  • Three characters -- Rachel, Astrid, and Eleanor -- demonstrate self-control. What are the similarities in their decision-making? What are the differences?

  • Crazy Rich Asians is the first Hollywood studio feature set entirely in the present with an all-Asian/Asian American cast. Why is that notable? Why does representation matter in movies, TV, and books?

  • How do the characters defy stereotypes, both in terms of ethnicity and gender? What makes Rachel a positive female character? Why is it important for kids to see a wide range of behavior from both genders in the media they consume?

  • The film shows that an abundance of wealth can also bring an abundance of other things, including complications. How does that tie into the old saying "money can't buy happiness"?

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