Pop Culture Happy Hour, Day 19: Crazy Rich Asians
Inspired by NPR, every day (gulp) from December 1st to 24th, I will be highlighting
a pop culture moment from this year that I loved. Today I wrote about Crazy Rich Asians.
Ignoring the fact that...maybe Nick wasn't the best boyfriend??? Crazy Rich Asians was one of the most romantic films I watched this year. Both times I saw it - first with a friend and then with my sister, were so incredibly fun. From the incredibly hot cast to the wealth porn to the amazing locations and the food, it was a riot from opening to credits.
There are two scenes that have stayed with me. The first is the wedding scene, because it was beautiful and ridiculous and beautiful, and it made me cry. The song choice - a cover of I Can't help falling in Love with you by Kina Grannis - was, like the rest of the soundtrack, both classic, but different enough to let us know that although we were in familiar emotional territory, we were in different waters.
The bit that made me tear up was when Nick mouthed 'I love you' to Rachel, because it affirmed their love for each other, despite the choppy emotional waters Rachel was trying not to drown in. This combined with the song choice was enough to end me.
The second was the Mahjong scene, where Rachel stands up to Eleanor, and tells her that even though Eleanor thinks she isn't enough for Nick and their family, for the first time in her life,. Rachel truly believes that she is enough. This scene reasonates strongly. For many people, often women, it is long, long uphill slog to a place where you feel you are good enough. When Eleanor tells Rachel she will never be enough, as much as the movie makes you root for Nick and Rachel, me and my friend/sister did wonder what the reality of being with someone whose family doesn't believe you measure up, and whether it is worth it.
Rachel's speech to Eleanor - that she IS good enough, and that Eleanor should remember her forever, as turning down Nick's proposal was the reason he could be with his family, classy shade - was really gratifying. This movie wears its heart on its sleeve. But this scene practically serves it to you on a platter. It slightly shifts the emotional centre point of the film from Nick and Rachel to Rachel and her mum, spotlighting her humble origins, and how they are nothing to be ashamed of. In fact it makes her journey all the more remarkable, and she won't be deferent or think less of herself just because someone happened to be born into a rich family. And because of the mah Jong game, I'm sure half of this scene's symbolism went over my head . But I got all this from it anyway. Truly great storytelling!