Michelle Yeoh Stars In A Blockbuster Hit That’s A Streaming Success Years After Release

Michelle Yeoh starred in Crazy Rich Asians, a record-setting romantic comedy.

By Robert Scucci | Published

The beautiful thing about having streaming access to so many films across so many platforms is that you can be made aware of a film that you may have overlooked when it was initially released. Sometimes you stumble across a film that was once considered a flop, but sees a renaissance when a new audience discovers it. In the case of Crazy Rich Asians starring Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), it was a hit back in 2018 and continues to show us why in 2023 when you consider the fact that FlixPatrol ranks the film as the seventh most streamed movie currently on Amazon Prime this week.

Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy-drama film directed by Jon M. Chu and was adapted from the Kevin Kwan novel of the same name. The story centers on Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) and her husband-to-be, Nick Young (Henry Golding), and the drama that unfolds when somebody from a modest background has an opportunity to marry into a wealthy family. Michelle Yeoh takes on the role of Eleanor Sung-Young, Nick’s domineering mother, who suspects Rachel of being a gold-digger despite the fact that Rachel doesn’t know that Nick comes from an exceedingly wealthy family.

Not only does Nick come from old money, which he kept secret from Rachel until their trip to Singapore to attend his best friend’s 0wedding, but it’s also made apparent that his family is basically royalty. Stuck between his obligations to his family, and his own happy life with Rachel, Nick tries to gloss over the fact that Rachel won’t be welcome in his home. And although Michelle Yeoh gives off serious Emily Gilmore (Gilmore Girls) vibes with her portrayal of Eleanor, you can still see her in a sympathetic light because she faced similar struggles of her own when she married into the Young family herself.

Financial disparities aside, Eleanor doesn’t think that Rachel is worthy of marrying into the Young family because of her American background, which Eleanor believes to have a strong emphasis on an individual’s well-being rather than their family’s. Considering that Nick would likely be expected to stay in Singapore to run his family’s corporation and that Rachel’s work is waiting for her back in New York, it’s evident that marriage would ultimately lead to a conflict that would put Nick in a difficult spot. Michelle Yeoh does an excellent job of showing the audience Eleanor’s devotion to her family, even though her attempts to protect them from Rachel, who is ultimately harmless, are misguided in many ways.

Throughout the film, we’re met with an emotional tug-of-war between generational wealth and finding love, and it’s inherently great cinema that’s not without comedic flare. Though Michelle Yeoh is a supporting actress in this film, critics took note of her nuanced performance that, in many ways, was the highlight of Crazy Rich Asians. Los Angeles Times critic Justin Chang praised Yeoh’s performance as “crisp, authoritative, sometimes startlingly vulnerable,” and he went on to say that she did an amazing job of articulating the unique and layered relationships that Asian parents have with their children.

Crazy Rich Asians currently sits with a 91 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, and the praise for Michelle Yeoh is all but universal. Commercially, the film went on to earn a total of $238.5 million at the worldwide box office off a budget of $30 million, making it the highest-grossing romantic comedy of the 2010s.

Crazy Rich Asians stands on its own as a solid romantic comedy in its own right and marks the beginning of Michelle Yeoh’s career resurgence. But it’s worth noting that Michelle Yeoh has continued to make waves since starring in 2022’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, a film that’s a unique mix of comedy-drama, fantasy, and absurdist fiction. For her performance in this Daniel Kwan film about a laundromat owner who gets sucked into a series of parallel universes while doing her taxes, Yeoh took home an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Given her recent success in such a delightfully weird film, it only makes sense that her past work is getting the second look it truly deserves.

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a solid romantic comedy, then Crazy Rich Asians is definitely worth a look. There’s one thing we know about viewing audiences, and it’s that they don’t actively seek out movies they don’t like, so it’s safe to say that a film doesn’t pull a seventh place ranking on Amazon Prime by accident.