I have been #blessed with some amazing movie adaptations lately. Both involve Asian or Asian American casts and/or main characters, which provides some excellent representation, and both are amazing romantic comedies. I’ve already reviewed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on the blog (and the sequels here and here), so I won’t review it again, but I will be sharing my book review for Crazy Rich Asians as well since I haven’t yet.
Crazy Rich Asians
Thoughts on the movie:
Phew, this movie was a whirlwind. I took Chris to see it because I was sure he would love it, and I happened to be right! The man who doesn’t like rom-coms was totally smitten with this movie. We were in a super packed theater on a Tuesday night and it was made up of probably 80% Asian patrons. He thought it was really powerful to share the experience and laugh about some of the cultural pieces with other people. (REPRESENTATION IS SO NECESSARY.) I can’t speak too much about his experience, but those were some points he hammered home for the rest of the night. He thought the movie was well-done, funny, and deeper than a “normal rom-com.”
I kept getting slightly annoyed when things differed from the book, but it truly didn’t ruin my experience of the movie at all. The biggest differences I noticed were with the ending and with Peik Lin’s family. Her personality (and her family overall) was kicked up about 100 notches. I liked that she was the comedic character with all of her antics; we laughed out loud every time she spoke. The ending was wrapped up a little nicer than the book, which is to be expected because they’re never sure of a sequel. (The mid-credits scene made me SQUEAL.)
I think the movie did a good job of capturing the luxe lifestyle of these people and I think every actor was unreal. Seriously, the cast was near perfection. I love Constance Wu SO much and Chris kept saying how happy he was for her. She was the perfect person to be Rachel IMO. I also loved Astrid (her story was also quite different from the book but followed a similar footprint overall I guess?) and seeing the rest of his family members come to life.
The movie was funnier than the book (mostly from Peik Lin and her family) and just so much fun overall. I definitely would watch it again. Chris thought his mom (who isn’t the biggest movie person and watches dramas instead) and his sister would really like it as well.
Thoughts on the book:Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Series: Crazy Rich Asians #1
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Knopf Doubleday on June 11, 2013
Also by this author: China Rich Girlfriend , Rich People Problems
Format: Audiobook (403 pages) • Source: Library
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.
I loved this. I knew I would want the second book right away! There are a lot of characters introduced through the different chapters and points of view, but I got the hang of it eventually. I really thought it was going to be too much or confusing as more people were introduced. I ended up loving each of the side characters and/or being fascinated by their stories. I was a big fan of Astrid’s story, but wanted to strangle Eddie whenever he came up. No matter who was being featured, though, their side of things was a lot of fun.
The super rich world that was set up was kind of unfathomable. I cannot imagine having that much money. Rachel and Nick, the main characters, were really interesting to follow around. The end of the book has me quite eager to see where their story will go next. Nick’s family was… interesting… so I’m intrigued about how they’ll come around (or not).
The ending was abrupt for me. This is not a HUGE issue since it is a series, but I would have been a little frustrated if the next book wasn’t already available! There were some big revelations for Rachel and her family toward the end that got adequate attention, but other things could have been developed more before concluding the story. We’ll see what happens next!
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Thoughts on the movie:
My sister and I watched the movie together on Netflix the Sunday after it came out because our schedules didn’t align for Friday night or Saturday, unfortunately. (I did stream the movie in the background on mute while I was at work on Friday to make sure Netflix knew how excited I was though ?) She came over to my house and Chris sort of watched in the background. He wasn’t overly interested in this one tbh.
I thought this is one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen, easily. The casting was WONDERFUL. Peter and Lara Jean and her family members were pretty spot on. Because I hadn’t read the book in years (and my sister has a way better memory than me), I thought it was true to the book basically from start to finish. My sister had some mild complaints because she has the mind of a steel trap and thought some things were skipped over. I agree that there was certainly more relationship-building during the book, where there was a gradual transition from fake dating just at school, to something that felt real and was continued outside of school. I kept reminding her that movies can’t always be a carbon copy of the book haha.
Lots of people didn’t like Peter K as much in the book as they did in the movie and I generally agree? But honestly, I didn’t have a lot of issues with him in the book… I understand that he wasn’t perfect and I kind of appreciated that his breakup from Gen wasn’t clean. I mean, just look at why the two of them started fake dating in the first place! It was to get back at Gen and/or make her jealous (depending on if we’re talking about the book or the movie). I don’t think Peter was a knight in shining armor in the book quite like he was in the movie, but I tend to appreciate both version of Peter.
The movie itself was incredibly adorable. I wanted to move into Lara Jean’s room ASAP or remodel my current house to be a copy of her room. Her style and personality were so accurate to the book as well. Lana Condor did an amazing job of making Lara Jean somewhat awkward and cute at the same time, just like she is in the book. I loved Kitty and obviously wish that her and their dad was more present throughout the movie. Overall though, this was an excellent adaptation that made me tear up because I was just SO happy to see one of my favorite books come to life. I NEED THE NEXT BOOK TO BE A MOVIE.