Crazy Rich Asians: the Discontinuity and Continuity

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In the movie Crazy Rich Asians, the theme is revealed through the use of mise-en-scene and editing. The major theme I was able to identify through the use of aesthetics is that no matter the situation one should always stand up for themselves and not let anyone intimidate them into becoming someone who they aren’t. Mise-en- scene reveals the theme by the movie’s color, costume, and lighting. Editing reveals the theme by using discontinuity and continuity throughout the movie.

The theme is revealed through the first use of mise-en-scene; color. In the movie Crazy Rich Asians, the colors are bright and there’s a lot of decorations and details. An example of this would be when Rachel and Nick arrive in Singapore, she immediately starts to feel out of place. As the movie continues, we encounter Rachel being intimated by Nick’s rich family who makes her feel less than because of her social class. Nick’s family believed she did not meet up to their standards and was only with him for his money. When Rachel was going to meet Nick’s family, she starts feeling overwhelmed by all the rich colors and ornate decorations in Nick’s grandmother’s house. At the end of the movie we see Rachel playing mahjong with Eleanor and the audience can tell she wants to let Eleanor know she is good enough for her son, but she will walk away because she doesn’t want Nick to break his relationship with his family. Towards the beginning of the movie when Rachel is playing mahjong with her students, she tells them “the key is playing to win, instead of trying not to lose,” we can see that Rachel starts taking her advice towards the end of the movie when playing mahjong with Eleanor. Rachel was able to do all of this because there weren’t any bright colors and decorations making her feel out of place. As the audience, I was able to see that when Rachel plays mahjong her confidence is higher and it’s because she feels as if she was home without trying to impress people and meet their standards. The place where she played mahjong with Eleanor was warm and more like home. Unlike Nick’s grandmother’s house, that is why Rachel decided to meet with Eleanor there so she wouldn’t have rich colors intimidating her.

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The theme is revealed through the second use of mise-en-scene; costume. When Rachel found out she was going to Singapore to meet Nick’s parents she asked her mother to help her look for an outfit. Rachel’s mom picked out a red dress out for her telling her that red symbolized good luck, prosperity, and fertility. Rachel felt confident with that dress because her mother helped her choose it and she was used to the simple stuff. However, when Rachel went to Nick’s grandmother’s house for the first time, she wasn’t comfortable with the costume she was wearing because she wasn’t used to being all dressed up. The dress she was wearing wasn’t her typical attire because it was so detailed and vibrant. However, towards the middle of the movie when she went to the wedding, she felt confident with what she was wearing. Rachel was done trying to meet Nick’s family’s expectations since she was tired of them stepping over her and making her feel less than what she was. She decided to fight for Nick and become more confident in herself. Rachel goes into the weeding feeling herself, as soon as she steps out of the car the audience can see she is ready to confront anyone who tries putting her down. She was able to walk with confidence while there were photographers taking pictures because she was wearing a stunning sky blue and white tulle dress that made her feel comfortable, elegant, and more like herself. Rachel decided she needed to lift her chin and walk with confidence because she looked beautiful and so Nick’s family would stop stepping all over her.

The theme is also revealed through the third use of mise-en-scene; lighting. The movie Crazy Rich Asians if full of bright lighting. An example of this is the beautiful wedding scene, they use some butterfly and fireflies’ branches that seem to have LED lights, for the guests to lift up when the bride starts walking down the aisle. The lighted butterfly and fireflies’ branches prop created a breathtaking moment. At the beginning of the wedding scene, the lighting was bright and full of color. However, before the bride walked down the aisle the lights started fading out without the audience expecting it. The lighting became darker for the same reason that they were going to use the butterfly and fireflies LED branches. All the lighting they used within the wedding scene was beautiful and it makes it a special moment, because every lighting detail was so unique. Without the lighting incorporated within the movie, the audience wouldn’t have something to look forward to.

In the movie Crazy Rich Asians, the audience can see an example of discontinuity when they go from being in the coffee shop to the airport. After Rachel and Nick arrive at Singapore Colin and Araminta takes them to a street food market to eat. This is where discontinuity starts being displayed. Rachel is an Asian- American who comes from a whole different culture since she was raised in New York. During the street food market, we see a whole different culture being portrayed. The audience had an unexpected change of scenery from going to the airport to the street food market where Rachel experienced new foods.

In the movie Crazy Rich Asian, the audience can see an example of continuity when Rachel and Nick first arrive in Singapore. After they arrive at Singapore the audience keeps having a change of scenery however it is the same because they are trying to expose the culture of Asians. When the first arrived at Singapore Colin and Araminta takes Rachel and Nick to a street market to eat. They go through different stands and get Nick’s favorites so Rachel can try them and see what she thinks about his favorite food. This whole scene is considered continuity because even though they are going through different stands the main characters remained the same scene as new characters and different food kept appearing on the scene.

The movie Crazy Rich Asians does a good job of revealing its theme by using mise-en-scene and editing. These two lecture topics made it able for me to identify the theme through the use of aesthetics which is that no matter the situation one should always stand up for themselves and not let anyone intimidate them into becoming someone who they aren’t. Throughout the movie, the audience can see how color, costume, and lighting are a part of mise-en-scene and how it is incorporated into the movie. The audience is also able to see the discontinuity and continuity are a part of editing and how it is incorporated into the movie as well as being able to see the main difference between these two. Overall throughout this movie, I was able to see how the aesthetics of Crazy Rich Asians work to present a theme while still being able to use specific material from at least two of the lecture topics discuss throughout this semester.      

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