When Nick Young (Henry Golding) invites his girlfriend, New York University economics professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), home to Singapore as his date to his best friend’s wedding, she knows she’ll be meeting his family for the first time. Rachel soon realizes how wealthy Nick and his family are when their seats are upgraded to first class. Once in Singapore, Rachel learns that the Young family owns the biggest real estate firm in the region. As one friend puts it, they are “crazy rich.”
Before Rachel meets anyone, someone takes her photo with Nick and shares it on social media. By the time they arrive at the Young home, everyone is calling her a gold digger. Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), Nick’s mom, is formal and stiff, and eventually tells Rachel that she will never be good enough for her son. Eleanor insists that Nick put family first. Nick’s grandmother, Shang Su Yi (Lisa Lu), appears welcoming at first and invites Rachel to help make dumplings because cooking is a way to keep the family together and pass down the culture to the next generation.
The opulent bachelor and bachelorette parties don’t go well for either Nick or Rachel. Nick proposes to Rachel, and neither his mother nor grandmother is pleased. Eleanor, in fact, goes to extreme lengths to expose Rachel’s background to her son.
Crazy Rich Asians is based on the 2013 best-selling novel by Kevin Kwan. The film adaptation is directed by Jon M. Chu and cowritten by Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim. The film is the first Hollywood production since The Joy Luck Club 25 years ago to feature an all-Asian cast, which is a good thing. The story, however, is a satirical commentary about rich Asians and a traditional romantic comedy set against a mostly garish background (especially the wedding venue that was once a Catholic chapel).
There are interesting themes, such as the traditional role of women in a family challenged by culture clashes. Despite Wu’s sympathetic performance as an independent woman willing to sacrifice her own happiness, in the end it’s still all about getting the guy. The box-office success of this film shows that audiences are open to story lines that feature a diverse cast.
A-3 • PG-13 • Some sexual humor.
Jacques (Vincent Lindon) is an injured war journalist who has recently returned to France after seeing his colleague die in an explosion in a Middle East conflict. He struggles with his hearing and wants to be alone.
When he is mysteriously beckoned to the Vatican and asked to be on a team investigating Anna (Galatéa Bellugi), a young woman who says she has seen the Blessed Virgin, he reluctantly accepts.
The town in southern France where the apparitions occur is inundated with pilgrims. The parish priest, eager to believe in the apparitions, preaches about Mary’s message to Anna, now a novice in the local convent. He emphasizes that Mary wants us to care for the poor in addition to prayer.
Anton (Anatole Taubman) sells religious items and organizes pilgrimages to his own advantage. But Jacques starts to investigate Anna’s personal background and discovers she lived her life in foster homes alongside children with whom she is still in touch. A mystery emerges that challenges Jacques’ own weak faith and unwittingly exposes not only the feeble faith of others, but also genuine charity.
While The Apparition is long and the drama uneven, the reverence for Our Lady and the genuine search for faith will inspire audiences. Mary is always present in the film.
Director and cowriter Xavier Giannoli’s intent is to explore the mystery of belief in the modern world. The director has done his research on the process for approving Marian apparitions. The film is in French with English subtitles.
Not yet rated • Some moments of peril.
When Audrey (Mila Kunis) is dumped by her boyfriend, Drew (Justin Theroux), via text on her birthday, her best friend, Morgan (Kate McKinnon), tells her to text him back that she is burning his stuff. He texts her again, begging her not to.
Audrey meets a man, Sebastian (Sam Heughan), at the bar where she works. He flirts with her and reveals that Drew is really a spy for the CIA and has disappeared. But when Drew comes back to get his things, especially his fantasy football statue, men arrive to shoot Drew and anyone in sight. Drew tells Audrey to take the statue to a meeting at a café in Vienna. Then Sebastian shoots Drew, and Morgan, to her great surprise, shoots Sebastian.
Audrey and Morgan flee, spending their meager funds to buy plane tickets and make the meeting in Vienna. Once again, chaos breaks out. But Audrey is smart, and Morgan is crafty. As they are pursued through numerous cities, the two women follow Drew’s initial advice to them: Trust no one. This film, directed by Susanna Fogel, is a crass and vulgar spy caper with few admirable qualities, aside from the competent pairing of Kunis and McKinnon and one terrific laugh about the overwrought menu of a certain American restaurant chain.