Is Crazy Rich Asians Good For Representation?

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I read an article in The Atlantic recently. It was by Mark Tseng-Putterman, and titled “One Way That Crazy Rich Asians Is A Step Backward.” What it argued, essentially, was that, despite the films groundbreaking nature, it also took care to represent its Asian characters according to White norms. Those norms being things like having Western names, going to Western universities, wearing Western-style clothes, and being wealthy and materialistic. To Mr. Tseng-Putterman, the fact that the Asian characters in the movie were all so well off and Westernized made them un-relatable, and not at all emblematic of the experiences shared by the vast majority of Asian Americans. Now, normally, I wouldn’t give an op-ed piece like this much thought. Every time a movie about a certain group or issue comes out, even if the intentions of the filmmakers are clearly good, there will inevitably be detractors. There were women who thought that Wonder Woman wasn’t Feminist enough. There were Black people who thought that Black Panther perpetuated Western stereotypes of Africans as being warlike and tribal. So, of course, Crazy Rich Asians will have its fair share of Asian detractors. But two things happened, the publishing of Kelly Marie Tran’s New York Times piece, and the release of Netflix’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, that got me thinking about the article and its questions of Asian representation more seriously. So I decided to address them, and, hopefully, figure out what, if any, solutions can be found. Continue reading

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Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

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Nick and Rachel are in love. They’ve been dating for over a year, live together, and share absolutely everything with each other. Well, not quite everything. See Rachel, a college professor from a working class background, doesn’t realize that Nick is actually from the Young family, the richest and most famous real estate developers in all of Singapore. So when she journeys with him to Asia to attend a wedding, she is blindsided by the sheer opulence with which his family lives. Something else she isn’t expecting is the extreme hostility with which Eleanor, Nick’s mother, treats her. See Eleanor doesn’t think that Rachel is good enough for her son. She thinks that Rachel, who’s Chinese-American, is too foreign and uncivilized to marry the heir to a multi-billion dollar estate. But Rachel isn’t giving up. She loves Nick, and she won’t lose him for anything. But can she convince Eleanor that she’s worthy of her son? Watch the movie and find out.
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