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10 Biggest Details Crazy Rich Asians’ Movie Leaves Out From The Book


10 Biggest Details Crazy Rich Asians’ Movie Leaves Out From The Book


Summary

  • Crazy Rich Asians
    had to cut some key elements from the book, including details on how Rachel and Nick met at NYU.
  • The movie simplifies the extensive family tree and omits Nick’s father, but a sequel may explore these aspects more.
  • The movie also leaves out Astrid’s history with Charlie, Francesca’s character, Colin’s mental health, and Ah Ma’s attitude towards Rachel.



Jon. M Chu’s hit rom-com Crazy Rich Asians was forced to leave out some major story details from its source material due to time constraints. Based on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel of the same name, Crazy Rich Asians follows NYU professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) for a wedding and meets his disapproving, “crazy rich” family. Like all book-to-movie adaptations, Crazy Rich Asians had to make some strategic choices about what to cut but succeeded in presenting an enjoyable romance that captures the essence of the novel.

However, book readers will notice characters and story beats that have been cut, as well as how the overall family relationships have been simplified to free the movie of too much exposition. Some of these characters and moments aren’t particularly important in the first book but would need to be worked in if Crazy Rich Asians 2 (based on the second book China Rich Girlfriend) ever happens. People who only watched the movie and are going crazy waiting for the next one might enjoy learning more about the Crazy Rich Asians story and should consider reading the book.


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10 How Rachel & Nick Met

Rachel and Nick were set up by a colleague while working at NYU.

Crazy Rich Asians does not explain how Rachel and Nick’s relationship began, which is detailed in the book. The movie also does not make it completely clear that Nick is also a professor at NYU, like Rachel. After double majoring at Oxford in history and law, Nick moved to New York to teach history. He met several times with Sylvia, one of Rachel’s colleagues in the economics department, who became convinced that he was the one for Rachel.


Rachel, Nick, and Sylvia went out for coffee under the pretense of a casual, professional meet-up. Sylvia eventually excused herself to go home to her husband, and Rachel and Nick ended up spending several hours together going to different restaurants and talking. In retrospect, it is too bad that his scene did not make it into the movie, because it is the perfect meet-cute.

9 The Full Young-Shang-T’sien Family Tree

The Crazy Rich Asians family tree is much bigger than the movie lets on.

The Crazy Rich Asians movie mostly focuses on the Young family, who are the most important to Nick and Rachel’s narrative. Nick’s cousins Astrid Leong Teo (Gemma Chan) and Eddie (Ronny Chieng) and Alistair Cheng (Remy Hii) are the children of Nick’s father’s sisters. However, the Young family is a part of a complex family tree which essentially constitutes a circular relationship between the Young, T’sien, and Shang families. This dynamic of a very broad, powerful family tree is an important part of the Young family’s history.


Nick’s grandfather James Young married Shang Su Yi (Lisa Lu), while his sister Rosemary married into the T’sien family. Rosemary’s daughter then married Su Yi’s brother (full family tree available via Penguin Random House). The movie suggests that this family still exists because Oliver T’siean (Nico Santos) appears, who is one of Rosemary’s grandchildren. Oliver’s exact relationship with the Youngs isn’t clarified in the movie, as the only thing important to the immediate story is that he is a cousin of Nick’s who becomes friends with Rachel.

8 Where Nick’s Father Is & His Relationship With Eleanor

Nick’s father does not appear at all in the Crazy Rich Asian movie.


One of the biggest things Crazy Rich Asians changes from the book is that Nick’s father Philip does not appear at all when he flies in from Sydney to meet Rachel in the first book. However, the movie doesn’t go into detail about where Nick’s father is either, with only a brief comment that he is away due to work. Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) tells Rachel that Nick’s Ah Ma (Lisa Lu), or grandmother, didn’t approve of her, but Philip married her anyway. Eleanor left law school to dedicate herself to the family and spent many years working to gain Ah Ma’s respect.

The book offers more explanation of the present-day circumstances of Nick’s parents. Philip lives and works in Sydney, trying to put some distance between himself and his mother and wife. Eleanor calls him at multiple points in the series, worried about Nick’s relationship with Rachel, but Philip doesn’t care and has nothing against Rachel. To summarize, since his marriage, Philip grew exhausted by his mother’s strict standards and his wife doing everything to uphold them and moved away from it all.


7 Astrid’s History With Charlie

Astrid’s ex-fiancé Charlie makes only a brief appearance in the movie.

Crazy Rich Asians’ credits scene shows Astrid sharing a look with a man at Nick and Rachel’s engagement party, who is confirmed to be Charlie Wu (Harry Shum Jr.). The moment seems to imply that Astrid and Charlie have never met before in the movie universe, but the filmmakers could probably still work in some of the characters’ history together before this moment in Astrid and Charlie’s Crazy Rich Asians spinoff if they wanted to. For Astrid and Charlie do have a history together that is not explained in the movie.

Astrid and Charlie’s romance will be one of the most important parts of any future movies; they have a love story that beautifully parallels Rachel and Nick’s relationship.


Charlie is Astrid’s college boyfriend, to whom she was engaged, but her parents’ disapproval of Charlie led to a disastrous breakup. Astrid then met and married Michael Teo (Pierre Png), while Charlie married and divorced Isabel. Astrid has a son and Charlie has two daughters from these marriages. Charlie is there to support Astrid when her and Michael’s marriage starts to fall apart, and they get back together when Astrid leaves Michael. Astrid and Charlie’s romance will be one of the most important parts of any future movies; they have a love story that beautifully parallels Rachel and Nick’s relationship.

6 Francesca & Her Relationship With Nick

Another past girlfriend of Nick’s causes strife for Rachel in the book.


The movie only includes the character of Amanda Ling (Jing Lusi), who more or less serves the narrative purpose of Francesca Shaw where Rachel is concerned. Amanda is Nick’s ex-girlfriend, and Eleanor wanted him to marry her. Amanda seems to want to win Nick back, or at least get rid of Rachel. In the book, things are further complicated by the presence of Francesca, another Singaporean socialite and ex-girlfriend of Nick’s.

Both Amanda and Francesca and most of the other women at Araminta’s (Sonoya Mizuno) bachelorette party are hostile towards Rachel. As Colin’s (Chris Pang) sister Sophie tells Rachel, most of them would love to become “Mrs. Nicholas Young.” Francesca, whose mother is one of Eleanor’s best friends, promises Eleanor that she will get rid of Rachel. Francesca then tells Rachel at the wedding that she, Amanda, and Nick once had a threesome. Rachel tries to leave after the wedding, fed up that Nick didn’t tell her about any of his life before New York, but he convinces her to stay.


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5 The Whole Shaw Family

Francesca’s family has a massive fortune but are cut off by her grandfather.

When Rachel is mad at him, Nick thinks about how “Francesca had been a very different girl back then, before her grandfather’s stroke and all that money,” but decides it’s not what Rachel needs or wants to hear. Francesca’s grandfather is the founder of Shaw Foods; when he had a stroke and went into a coma, Francesca’s father assumed control of the company, and the family began spending massive amounts of money. Nick’s perspective implies that they lived much more modestly before this and that Francesca was better for it.


However, Francesca’s grandfather abruptly comes out of the coma near the end of the book. When he comes home, he is horrified by the family’s house, cars, and overly luxurious lifestyle, and comments that Francesca is dressed like a prostitute. He then takes back his company, completely cuts off his son’s family, and demands they return the money they spent. Francesca in particular is furious about the situation and having to change her lifestyle.

4 Colin’s Mental Health

Nick supports his best friend, who has trouble with life in the spotlight.


Colin and Araminta are also abridged to simply be Nick’s best friends, while the one scene with Nick and Colin alone shows them talking about Rachel. In the book, Colin has anxiety and depression, which are exacerbated by the pressures of being the heir to his family’s company and constant public attention. While he loves Araminta and wants to marry her, the event-of-the-century wedding is another stressor for him. However, the wedding is part of the dealings between the Khoo and Lee families, and it’s important to the bride.

Nick is Colin’s biggest support pillar in this regard. He is there as a friend when Colin is feeling down and needs to vent about everything. Additionally, the movie shows them escaping the bachelor party because Nick’s cousins insulted Rachel and Bernard Tai (Jimmy O. Yang) is generally being obnoxious. In the book, Nick schemes to get them away from it because it is clear that the party is too much for Colin.

3 Ah Ma Doesn’t Believe Nick Would Defy Her

Ah Ma welcomes Rachel because she doesn’t believe she is really a problem.


Up until the reveal that the Youngs have hired a private investigator to look into Rachel’s past, Nick’s Ah Ma is relatively nice to Rachel. It is Eleanor who is on guard, taking the woman that Nick brings home for the wedding seriously. Rachel’s friend Peik Lin (Awkwafina) suggests that this is a good thing, because Ah Ma’s opinion is the one that matters, and Eleanor cannot overrule her. However, the book jumps between different characters’ perspectives and shows Ah Ma having a conversation with her daughters that is less friendly.

They are all more concerned about Alistair recently announcing his engagement to Kitty Pong (Fiona Xie) and are discussing how to prevent their marriage when Rachel comes up as a comparison. Ah Ma brushes it off, saying that she’s only someone Nick is “having fun with” and that he would never marry her without his grandmother’s blessing. Nick then completely defies her and proposes to Rachel anyway.


2 Rachel’s Mom’s Ex-Husband Is In Prison

Rachel briefly believes her mother’s ex-husband is her father.

When Eleanor and Ah Ma look into Rachel’s family, they believe that the husband Rachel’s mother Kerry (Kheng Hua Tan) fled is Rachel’s father. He is in prison for approving cost-cutting measures on a construction project that caused the deaths of 74 workers. When they present this information to Nick and Rachel, they also show an old reward notice from his family for the return of Rachel, who they say was kidnapped by her mother as a baby.


In retrospect, it doesn’t make complete sense for the private investigator in the movie to have known who Rachel’s father is. Presumably, most of the rest of this plot point remains the same, other than Kerry fleeing while she was still pregnant rather than giving birth while still living with her husband’s family. However, Kerry does suggest in the movie that at some point she didn’t think her husband was a threat anymore, possibly implying that he was still incarcerated.

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1 Astrid Wears An Old Dress To The Wedding

The wedding chapter in Crazy Rich Asians ends with a quote pointing this out.


The wedding scene in the movie is rendered far more romantic without the characters’ inner monologues. In the book, the chapter focusing on the ceremony lands on Araminta’s perspective as she walks down the aisle when she notices that Astrid is wearing a dress she wore to a different event only two months earlier. Like in the movie, Astrid recruits Ah Ma to come to the wedding to distract from Michael’s absence. According to the book:

“As Araminta reached the altar where her future husband awaited, with the Bishop of Singapore in front of her and the most important people in Asia behind her, one thought alone crossed her mind: Astrid Leong, that damn b***h, couldn’t even be bothered to wear a new dress to her wedding.”

It’s an amusing illustration of the superficiality that runs rampant in Crazy Rich Asians. However, Astrid always wears old dresses to weddings since she went to one where she accidentally upstaged the bride with her wardrobe. Not all details like this will be included in movie adaptations, but learning about them will deepen viewers’ knowledge of the story when they are plausibly still relevant to the events depicted in the movie.


Source: Penguin Random House

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