Synopsis: "Crazy Rich Asians" is a romantic comedy about a couple from polar opposite backgrounds: Rachel Chu, an Asian-American professor of modest means and Nick Young from Singapore who was raised in extravagant wealth. He doesn't reveal his true background until she meets his family before the wedding of Nick's best friend. Rachel was shocked by their posh living, elitist ways, and getting to know Eleanor, the disapproving mother of Nick, who doesn't like that she is too Westernized as an Asian and possibly a gold-digger.
Warning: Spoilers within the Presentation
Welcome to "Conscious Movie Reviews." I'm your host Joy Davis and here to review the romantic comedy, "Crazy Rich Asians."
On a dinner date, Asian American Rachel Chu was invited by her boyfriend, Nick Young, to accompany him at his best friend's wedding in Singapore. Nearby them, a woman from Radio1Asia passed by, discreetly snapping up their image to share gossip about the couple through online social media that rapidly reached Eleanor, Nick's overbearing mother. She was interrupted by the news from her friends within the Christian book circle. They were just about to review Corinthians from the Bible.
A woman of modest means, Rachel taught economics at New York University. By playing cards, she demonstrated to her class that many people play to not lose instead of playing to win.
Being afraid to lose is called "kiasu" in Singapore. They are encouraged to come out first, whether it's in competitions or negotiations. It can be viewed as an attitude of a graceless society.
Rachel marveled at the extravagant, first class service received on their flight from New York to Singapore. She questioned Nick about how he was able to afford it. He remained coy with her to only say that his family is rich, but comfortable, then offered some background about three of his cousins.
When Rachel mentioned the name of her boyfriend to her best friend from college, Peik Lin, she found out about Nick's real identity. He is considered "royalty" for being the son of the wealthiest family in the country. The Youngs represented "old money" that was accumulated through real estate investments made worldwide. Peik Lin's family is "new money."
Currently, Singapore has over 5 million residents. By 2020, 1 in 30 Singaporeans will be a millionaire. They are adding more millionaires faster than Hong Kong. By design, Singapore has just the right business climate with a solid infrastructure for private wealth management to really thrive.
The United States is still number one in the world with close to 10 million millionaires. Unlike the movie, there's a culture of being modest about your wealth in America. It's the idea of the millionaire next door who many don't suspect he is one because of the car he drives or home he lives in. Nick gave that same impression to Rachel when he was dating her in New York.
When cousin Astrid had purchased a set of heirloom, pearl drop earrings from Burma that cost $1.2 million dollars, she ordered the servants to follow procedure and hide any expensive purchases before her husband Michael comes home. Throughout their marriage, he was uncomfortable with his wife's wealth. She chose to accommodate him so that his self-esteem was not threatened.
Michael's feelings of being uncomfortable about Astrid's wealth comes from tying his self-worth to his earnings that's lowers than hers. He had referred to himself as being a lucky bastard that never measures up.
When someone comes along that "stretches" our capacity for receiving abundance, beyond what we've been use to since childhood, whether it's love or money, we're likely to sabotage the relationship. Michael didn't do the inner work to let go of his poverty consciousness, so he sabotaged their marriage by cheating on Astrid.
A solution for saving their marriage would be for them to build their own wealth. By starting up a joint business that's based on their interests, they would both be invested in and make sacrifices together for their prosperity.
Rachel brought along Peik Lin to a party hosted by Nick's grandmother. They arrived to marvel at her $200 million dollar mansion filled with lavish decor. As the band played live jazz music, wealthy guests passed them by with stares suggesting they don't belong there.
When Rachel was introduced to Nick's mother, Eleanor, she felt her stinging disapproval, but received a warmer reception from his grandmother, the great dame Shang Su Yi.
To Eleanor's dismay, Nick was due to return home last year, but stayed longer in New York. He was suppose to assume his responsibilities over the family's real estate business. Instead, he pursued a romance with an American girl.
Eleanor's harsh attitude is typical of many Asian mothers who struggle to instill traditional customs onto their children, but are challenged when they adopt the Western mindset - particularly the American sense of independence to pursue their passions at the cost of weakening their ties to family.
Eleanor was determined to ruin her son's romance. She meddled from a place of cultural preservation. By relating it to cards, Nick's mother plays in a way to keep from losing.
All of the guests at the party were treated to a rare event, the blooming of the fragrant Tan Hua flowers that only happens once a year at night and then dies by sunrise.
The Chinese believe that it's symbolic of good luck. On a subconscious level, witnessing the fragrant flowers in bloom can represent a special moment to revel in the sweet expression of feminine love that's beautiful to behold.
During Araminta's bachelorette party, Rachel was shocked to find a gutted fish on her bed with its blood on the window that read, "Catch this, you gold digging bitch."
Seeing a dead fish, whether in a dream at night or a waking dream during the daytime, is often associated with a threat, so it was a warning for Rachel to be cautious and conservative. The real barracuda behind the incident was Eleanor.
When Nick announced to his best friend that he would ask Rachel to marry him, Colin discouraged him from doing that because he understood the great sacrifices she would need to make, explaining that every day would be a struggle for her.
By making homemade Chinese dumplings, it was an opportunity for Rachel to connect with Nick's family.
When looked at symbolically, Eleanor had carefully parented Nick, her little pork filling, in a protective blanket that was the dough, making sure he was securely placed in the family's traditional fold, then pinched, to seal him from the intrusions of Westernization.
When Rachel noticed Eleanor's beautiful ring, she learned about her past of leaving law school in order to raise a family, explaining in a patronizing way that her choice was not "old fashioned" as many Americans believe, but the most important thing.
At the staircase, Eleanor admitted to Rachel that her husband did not propose to her with the family ring. She was painfully rejected by his mother, Shang Su Yi. It took many difficult years for Eleanor to finally earn her approval.
In her brutally honest way, she told Rachel, "You will never be enough for Nick."
When someone puts you down like this, the one doing the insulting is really talking about themselves. Eleanor revealed a part of her that she had trouble accepting in an unconditional way, which was not feeling worthy enough for love, acceptance and approval, so she has to work for it. By being in constant sacrifice through a role, Eleanor was constantly giving and could not receive. What she really sacrificed the most was her personal power.
Spiritually, we are already worthy and whole. It's our minds that want us to believe we're less than that, which is a lie.
Eleanor's elitist thinking is deeply rooted in the belief of wanting separation from others who are less than her. By completely let go of wanting separation, Eleanor would be able to experience the oneness and connectedness that she really is.
Explained another way by a practitioner of the Sedona Method, "You are both separation and oneness, so there is no need to want either. It's wanting either that keeps us stuck in the illusions of separation."
Even though Eleanor was tough with Rachel, Nick's grandmother was just the opposite - generously complimenting her for having an auspicious nose.
Based on the teachings of Jean Haner, an expert on the ancient art of Chinese face reading, Rachel has a petite, wide nose found in those who are friendly and kind. As for her oval-shaped face, she can be a practical and methodical overachiever. If you were to look at her brows, they are straight, rather than curved, to reveal that she's an intellectual type that makes decisions, based on facts, rather than emotion. And by having lips that look like a peaked, cupid's bow, Rachel is defined by her creativity, constantly striving for self-expression.
Rachel felt defeated by Eleanor's attempts at breaking up her relationship with Nick. Peik Lin helped her to understand that they are unfairly seen as "bananas" - yellow on the outside and white on the inside, meaning that they may look Asian, but fully Americanized.
Rachel picked herself back up to attend the nuptials. With the help of Nick's cousin Oliver, they dressed her up in a blue dress to look stunning for Singapore's wedding of the year.
During the reception, Rachel was called over to a private meeting with Eleanor and Shang Su Yi. Their investigator did a background check on Rachel's past. Based on that, they've concluded that she doesn't come from a good family. Her mother Kerry was a married woman who had a scandalous affair to produce Rachel, then escaped with her daughter to live in America. Rachel left the party feeling upset by the news.
By Nick's special request, Kerry showed up in Singapore to console her daughter. She explained what really happened long ago that forced her to leave an abusive marriage.
To keep Rachel with him, Nick apologized for his mother's cruel behavior and proposed marriage. He'd like to start a new life together in New York. Sadly, she turned him down.
Eleanor showed up by invitation from Rachel to play mahjong with her, seating themselves on opposite ends - the East side for Asia and West side to represent America.
Rachel explained that she refuesed Nick's proposal because he would be disowned by his family. But if Nick chose his family over her, he could grow to resent them.
During the game, Rachel deliberately threw away her winning piece, a number 8, that Eleanor took advantage of to win at Mahjong. This was Rachel's way of demonstrating that she chose to sacrifice her own happiness for his out of true love. He's now free to be with another woman that his family approves of because Rachel made it all possible.
Eleanor had a win or lose mentality. Rachel demonstrated to her a higher level of play to win, but for everyone to win. When we operate from the feeling of having to win or not wanting to lose, it can distract us from the underlying unlimitedness that's really available to all.
Eleanor gained a newfound respect for Rachel, realizing that she does understand the value of family and is self-sacrificing like her, but with greater integrity.
Growing up in America, you're encouraged to be ruggedly independent to pursue your passions, requiring a secure sense of individuality and holding true to your values and beliefs. Eleanor lacked integrity, leaving her subject to group mores and family ties. She didn't realize that you can be both independent, yet interdependent with others in a healthy way.
Nick rushed to the airport with the family ring on hand that was just given by his mother. This time, Rachel accepted his proposal in front of a crowd on the plane.
A surprise engagement party was held with Eleanor present to honor their love.