I’m a chick flick kind of guy who really enjoys watching those gushy romantic types of movies from time to time, especially the ones were two people fall in love from totally different worlds. “Crazy Rich Asians” is a great example of a recent film that follows this very path and one that also reminded me of the ills that having a lot of money can bring.
Based upon the first book in a series by Kevin Kwan and directed by Jon M. Chu, “Crazy Rich Asians” primarily revolves around New York University economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) and her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) who’ve been dating for over a year when the movie begins. When Nick asks her to accompany him to Singapore where he’s to be the best man at his best friend’s wedding, Rachel is more than thrilled, but has yet to discover that Nick essentially comes from one of the wealthiest families in Singapore. Her first awareness of this occurs on their flight there, when she learns Nick has upgraded them to first class and was only able to do so because his family has a business relationship with the airline. When asked by Rachel what his family actually does for a living, he merely responds that they are real estate developers, but little does she know the full depth to that. It doesn’t take long for her to figure that out though when she arrives at his family’s estate for an elaborate party on her second night there.
Accompanied by her closet college friend Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina), who also lives in Singapore, she begins to meet each of Nick’s family members and friends one by one where it’s becomes overly apparent from the onset that the majority of them are more into themselves and their wealthy status than anything else. Unfortunately, Rachel realizes all too quickly that many are not happy with Nick’s choice of a girlfriend, given she doesn’t come from money and is Asian-American. At the center of all that dissatisfaction is Nick’s mother Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh) who makes it blatantly clear Rachel isn’t truly welcomed there. As Rachel tries desperately to find acceptance and a place in Nick’s world where there seems to be far more judgements than anything, I found their love story reminiscent of another beautifully done romantic film I saw way back in 1990, one titled “Pretty Woman”, which was also a story of two unlikely people falling in love (Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward and Richard Gere as Edward Lewis) from totally different worlds.
Like “Pretty Woman”, “Crazy Rich Asians” depicted quite well the gap that continues to exist in modern society between the very wealthy and those who aren’t wealthy at all. While I myself have never reached any type of elite wealthy status like Nick’s family has in the film, I did grow up in a family that lived very comfortably on the financial level for some time. And with that, came a set of rules from my mother, who could have been the American version of Nick’s mother Eleanor at one point. My mom rarely approved of the majority of people I dated or became friends with once I left home, as I always seemed to gravitate to those who came from families that lived paycheck to paycheck and had very little to speak of, at least in the way of what money could buy. That didn’t stop me though from developing a number of relationships with those who came from the opposite side of the tracks so to speak, and through the years, I’d come to learn through them that money often corrupts the mind and body into doing things and acting in certain ways that isn’t founded on any solid higher vibrational spiritual principles.
Really, the sad reality I learned during that period was this. The more money and notoriety I gained, the more I became solely focused on maintaining it and sticking with those who can protect it or increase it, and in the process, the more I tended to judge and avoid many I deemed as beneath me. It was a very superficial life, which is why on some level, I’m thankful I lost the majority of that money back in 2010 when my business went under and I almost went bankrupt. Because it was then I finally got to see how much all that money had been blinding me from the truth. The truth that my heart was consistently being blocked from feeling true love for anything on this planet, other than the love for money and status itself.
This is why overall, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the beautifully done romantic film “Crazy Rich Asians” because it clearly was a great reminder to how money and status can oh-so-often come in between any true God-given love. It also reminded me as well that when people choose to live by their heart and not by money or status, that even an unlikely couple from totally different worlds can come together and unite in a love that is one to last for ages…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson