Journalist Sophia Lee: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and Me

Reflections from a Korean-American on the film phenomenon.

Over the past few months, many Asian-Americans have been quivering with anticipation for a movie they say they’ve been awaiting for too long: When was the last time we Asian-Americans had a major Hollywood production with an all-Asian cast? One that doesn’t involve karate chops, nerdy inch-thick glasses, and white-faced, oversexualized geishas? Trailers for Crazy Rich Asians ran on my social media feeds for weeks before the premiere, the algorithms theorizing that since I’m Korean-American and like movies, I would probably want to see two Asian lead characters smooch on screen.

BY SOPHIA LEE

WORLD MAGAZINE

So after the movie finally hit theaters on Aug. 15, I dutifully went to see it—not because I particularly wanted to watch it (I dislike romantic comedies; the typically sappy dialogue makes me gag), but because of the enormous buzz and hype in my social circles.

“GO WATCH THIS MOVIE!” my Asian-American friends exclaimed on Facebook and Instagram. Many Asian-Americans praised the film with sobbing, heart, and dancing emojis: “The movie made me cry happy sad tears!” “Finally, a movie about people who look like me!” “The movie that finally breaks the glass ceiling.” “Historic moment for Asian-Americans.” And the main message everyone proclaimed was, “GO SUPPORT ASIAN-AMERICANS!”

The pressure was on: If we hyphenated Americans didn’t swarm to the theaters to boost the film’s box-office ratings, we might lose the one rare chance in which Asian-Americans are the spotlight in Hollywood. Multiple publications reminded us that the last major American studio film to feature a majority-Asian cast in a nonperiod setting was The Joy Luck Club in 1993—that’s 25 years ago. That movie had moderate success, but nothing like the success of Black Panther. If Crazy Rich Asians could prove to business suits that Asian-Americans are indeed a profitable market, maybe we could finally have faces on the big screen that regularly reflected the diversity of Americans today—faces that reflect us…. READ FULL STORY AT WORLD MAGAZINE

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