Crazy Rich Asians': Challenging Societal Norms through Film

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Introduction

Undoubtedly, the film industry in the United States has played a fundamental role in the advocacy of social issues; such as, crime and violence, racism and ethnicity, poor governance and poverty. Clearly, the film producers and directors are fully in touch with the pressing societal issues and they are keen on highlighting these concerns as crucial thematic issues in the movies. Arguably, films are a great source of entertainment for the American society and they are reflective of the on-goings in the public circles and communities at large. Distinctly, the integration of societal concerns in the thematic elements in movies is a display of high-level artistic talent by the script-writers and movie directors. In this regard, the film Crazy Rich Asians (2018) directed by Chu Jon M. is a popular American comedy themed on romance, minority representation, racism (ethnicity), and globalization; it is a celebration of American as well as Asian cultures (Chinese).

Minority Representation in 'Crazy Rich Asians'

From the backdrop, an in-depth review of Crazy Rich Asians (2018) through an analysis of the film’s relevance to minority representation as a major social concern in the United States forms the foundation for this paper. Certainly, film practice has played a tremendous role in forging as well as imagining societies in the sense that the thematic issues in movies mirror the events in the society. Clearly, the matters of human behavior, family units, and organization are key components that are involved in shaping societies (Ito n.p.). As such, film practice employs the technique of characterization by displaying predetermined human actions and behavior to suit the thematic issue of the film. Again, the events that are taking place in the societies; such as, weddings, schooling, business, entertainment are featured in movie-scenes.

Evidently, in the movie Crazy Rich Asians (2018), the characterization of Young Nick and his adorable girlfriend Chu Rachel portrays a romantic relationship that is usually common among young adults who are focused on joining the institution of marriage (Chu n.p.). Agreeably, the display of romance in the films is expressive of the manner of boy-friend and girl-friend relationships that are quite common in the United States. Thus, the characterization in Crazy Rich Asians (2018) can be viewed as an attempt to imagine the American society from an Asian perspective. Without a doubt, the representation of minority groups in the United States has been a controversial matter based on the understanding of misrepresentation or otherwise underrepresentation whereby prejudice and ethnic stereotype approaches come into light.

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Over the centuries, America has been built on the collaborative input of minority and migrant groups who have a diverse wealth of talent, technical expertise, and skill in many disciplines and spheres of life (Ito n.p.). In this regard, it is imperative to be cognizant that the American dream can only be realized through collaboration, cooperation, and mutual respect between people from the multi-ethnic backgrounds of the American populace. Therefore, the aspect of minority underrepresentation as well as misrepresentation is brought out in the social and political approaches used to address the key concerns. Indeed, the American media has contributed immensely to advocacy efforts that are aimed at confronting the political and social barriers that hinder the move to equality through addressing underrepresentation and misrepresentation of minority groups. Social barriers include; racism and negative ethnicity, and prejudice whereas political barriers include; poor policies by the federal regime, utterances by political leaders that may adversely affect the gains on racial and ethnic equality, and racist political outfits and organizations. Fundamentally, film practice through movies; such as, Crazy Rich Asians (2018) have been effective in shedding light on the matter of underrepresentation and misrepresentation of minority groups in the United States.

Societal Impact of Film Characterization

In the movie, it is clear that Chu Rachel is an American of Chinese descent and she is serving as a top academician and researcher in one of the ivy-league institutions of education in the United States; New-York University. In essence, Chu Rachel is representative of the American-Chinese minority group (Chu n.p.). On the other hand, Chu is dating a youthful gentleman, Young Nick who has his roots in Singapore, a nation based in Asia. Certainly, the union of Chu and Young is indicative of the diverse minority groups in the USA. Chu Rachel’s success in the field of academics communicates the paradigm shift in the misrepresentation of Chinese-Americans who were previously portrayed as unsuccessful in the fast-paced American society. Concisely, it is evident that particular technologies, genres, and film types are highly effective in the matter of addressing sensitive societal issues; such as, sexism, injustice, and racism.

Controversial Themes in Cinema

One of the pressing concerns in the public sphere in the United States is the element of political correctness. Indeed, political correctness makes reference to the aspect of utterances or submissions in writing being sensitive to the publicly accepted positions on controversial societal issues; such as, racism, and sexism (Ito n.p.). As such, the film industry in the United States has taken a bold approach that negates the principle of political correctness whereby the controversial subjects of racism and sexism are discussed openly without favor, fear or intimidation. Taking the case of the film Crazy Rich Asians (2018), it is clear that the movie is a romantic comedy. Thus, the message communicated by the film’s director is packaged in an entertaining approach and this model allows Chu Jon M. to address sensitive matters; such as, homophobia, racism, injustice, and sexism, in an open dialogue without external interferences based on social or political grounds. For instance, in the film Crazy Rich Asians (2018), the viewer is exposed to Peik Lin- a caring friend and close associate to Chu Rachel- who offers advice to Rachel, Young Nick’s girlfriend, about facing Young’s mother, Sung-Young Eleanor who is apprehensive about Rachel’s potential to meet the expectations of the wealthy Singaporean family where she belongs. Truly, the matter of racism is brought out in a comical way since Eleanor has prejudice towards Rachel based on her Chinese roots (Chu n.p.).

At the same time, the issue of sexism arises in the approach that Eleanor takes in showing that Rachel does not have an equal say in the endeavor for decision making in their relationship with Nick. Arguably, the use of comedy and romance in the characterization in the film Crazy Rich Asians (2018) shows that the film’s type and genre is an effective method to address controversial and sensitive issues in the society, especially in the United States. From the onset, the film’s director has taken several approaches and strategies to bring to the viewers’ attention some of the critical thematic concerns presented in Crazy Rich Asians (2018). Agreeably, there are deep affective, aesthetic, activist, discursive, and anti-institutional techniques that have been employed in the development of events in the scenes in the American romantic-comedy film Crazy Rich Asians (2018). One of the affective strategies in the film appears in the romantic relationship between Chu Rachel and Young Nick as well as in the undertaking of the palatial wedding of the lover’s friends in the Asian city of Singapore (Chu n.p.).

The strong emotions and feelings of love expressed by Chu Rachel and Nick help to appeal to the emotions of the viewer; thus, the film producer succeeds in communicating the film’s thematic issues. In the same view, a key aesthetic strategy that has been used in the film appears in the portrayal of opulence, flamboyance, and grandiose in Araminta and Colin’s wedding that takes place in Singapore. At this point, the film presents the matter of racism and class prejudice at the guise of grand opulence. Similarly, a discursive strategy has been applied in the film Crazy Rich Asians (2018) whereby during the introduction session of Rachel to Young Nick’s mother by Nick, the viewer’s attention is directed to the quagmire in Astrid’s relationship with Michael; therefore, the discursive method helps to veer off the audience’s attention to the subject matter (Chu n.p.). Arguably, the activist and institutional strategies can be seen in the move by Eleanor and Yi Su’s insistence that Nick should keep away from any associations- romantic or otherwise- with Rachel on the basis that she was the product of a disgruntled and broken marital relationship of her parents.

Conclusion

From the analysis of the thematic concerns in the film Crazy Rich Asians (2018) using the critical review questions, it is evident that the film achieves its objective of addressing pressing and sensitive societal issues; such as, sexism, minority representation, and racism. The characterization in the film has been excellent, especially with the major characters- Chu Rachel and Young Nick. Indeed, the discussion questions help to unearth the deep-seated controversial societal issues through a comical approach as presented in the film Crazy Rich Asians (2018). Truly, the film has been effective in communicating its theme and objective, in an educative yet entertaining strategy. 

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Crazy Rich Asians’: Challenging Societal Norms through Film [Internet]. WritingBros. 2023 Jun 26 [cited 2024 May 28]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/crazy-rich-asians-challenging-societal-norms-through-film/
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