Over the weekend, Warner Bros. new rom-com, “Crazy Rich Asians,” made its debut at number one at the American Box Office, bringing in $25.1million. The film is the first by a major Hollywood studio to feature a predominantly-Asian cast since 1993’s “The Joy Luck Club.”
That’s right, it’s been 25 years.
The film has also received amazing reviews. It has a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has been praised for its “terrific cast” and visual “razzle dazzle.”
The film stars Constance Wu as a native New Yorker who travels to Singapore for a wedding to meet her boyfriend’s (Henry Golding) family. The family ends up being extremely wealthy and full of quirky characters.
via Getty Images by Alberto E. Rodriguez
While the film’s critical and financial success are important in an industry that’s decisions are firmly anchored to the bottom line, the film's biggest impact has undoubtedly been on the Asian community.
Asians are one of the most underrepresented groups in American cinema. Of the 174 theatrical films released in 2016, Asian actors and actresses made up 3.1 percent of top film roles.
Now, for the first time in a generation, Asian-Americans are able to see a Hollywood film with a predominantly Asian cast.
When people see themselves represented in popular culture, it gives them permission to dream bigger. It shows them their experiences are relevant and that their voices should be heard.
Kimberly Yam, editor of Asian Voices for HuffPost, perfectly summed up why the film is so important to her community. Yam shared her thoughts in a Twitter thread that traces her journey of self-acceptance.
You’re 8 years old. Your 3rd grade class orders chinese food & your father delivers it. You are so excited to see y… https://t.co/6mrVmNwTMi— Kimmy The Pooh (@Kimmy The Pooh) 1534550690
You’re 16 years old. It’s Halloween & 2 students come to class dressed as “Asian tourists.” They’ve taped their ey… https://t.co/6nWGzrq3Hh— Kimmy The Pooh (@Kimmy The Pooh) 1534550691
You don’t want people thinking you’re uptight. You laugh along with everyone else. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore.— Kimmy The Pooh (@Kimmy The Pooh) 1534550691
You’re 17 years old. You’re off to college & you meet other Asians. They have pride that you never had. You meet a… https://t.co/EFpTzc317s— Kimmy The Pooh (@Kimmy The Pooh) 1534550692
But you know you rejected your culture a long time ago. You know you refused to speak Chinese & you remember callin… https://t.co/RJeKx8bry6— Kimmy The Pooh (@Kimmy The Pooh) 1534550692
You’re 25 years old. You see a movie with an all-asian cast at a screening and for some reason you’re crying and y… https://t.co/mNSpqhouPM— Kimmy The Pooh (@Kimmy The Pooh) 1534550692
Yam’s viral thread has also gave others a platform to share their stories.
@kimmythepooh @LeanandCuisine I remember when I first moved from the Philippines to North Carolina, I had no way pf… https://t.co/VHfJXv5MGY— chao chao (@chao chao) 1534652053
@kimmythepooh I remember not being able to sleep because I would constantly fantasize about having friends and talk… https://t.co/C2qRNZCDOH— chao chao (@chao chao) 1534652200
@kimmythepooh Only to wake up the next morning and sit in self-doubt and discouragement throughout the school day.— chao chao (@chao chao) 1534652425
@kimmythepooh I’m 9 years old. I’m tired of the bullying. I’m tired of people getting my name wrong. I’m tired of t… https://t.co/ibv2pjE0Jz— Lei Gong (@Lei Gong) 1534710131
@kimmythepooh I tried *very* hard not to tear up in front of my friends constantly through the movie in scenes that… https://t.co/fXsn6iNrvk— Lei Gong (@Lei Gong) 1534710391