This is a wonderful movie, fresh and interesting despite the familiar theme: ethnic Chinese young man from a fabulously wealthy Singapore family falls in love with a Chinese American economics professor raised in modest circumstances by a single mother. The couple travels from home base in New York to Singapore for a wedding and for her to meet his family. His powerful mother and grandmother react like pit vipers to a young woman who is “not their kind”.
The all-Asian cast delivers knockout performances, both touching and hilarious. The women are gorgeous. The men are stud-ly. The requisite gay cousin steals his scenes. Rachel Chu’s best friend, who comes from Singapore “new money” as opposed to the old money family of her lover, is wildly funny. The scenes of wealthy Singapore are fabulous — I’ve been there and seen most of the places. You’ll enjoy the setting whether or not Singapore is ever on your travel list. I saw the film in Big Picture, one of downtown Seattle’s smaller venues. The audience was filled with young women, many non-Asian, who became completely involved on the side of the heroine Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu, cheering out loud when this master of game theory defeats her prospective future mother-in-law in an icy game of Mahjong.
This film isn’t a deep dive into moral complexity, but it’s way more than a summer beach film. I loved it. I loved that the young women, perhaps feeling affirmed in their own relationship struggles by the valor of Rachel Chu, cheered at the end. We all went out of the theater smiling and happy. This is one of those films I’d be glad to see again.