ANALYSIS: Are the Asians Crazy AND Rich? Or are they, “crazily rich”?

Crazy Rich Asians has been a dominant box-office force, but the title could use some clarification.

The new rom-com Crazy Rich Asians has been a smash hit with audiences around the world. However, we thought it was high time that someone cleared up some of the confusion regarding the title. What does Crazy Rich Asians mean? It’s a question that has bamboozled many and puzzled some. There are two leading schools of thought:

1. The Asians in Crazy Rich Asians are both crazy and rich


For many, this has been the conclusion drawn from the title. This implies that the characters in the book and film are not quite of sound mental health but nonetheless are gifted with tremendous wealth.

This reading of the title can impact the way that someone watches the film. A person who goes into the film expecting crazy characters may be more likely to anticipate character twists. Additionally, they may be more likely to explain poor writing as, “well the character is crazy, so their decision doesn’t have to make sense”.

It’s a fascinating way to read the film, but is it the correct way?


2. The magnitude of the wealth is crazy, not the characters


This second school of thought takes a different reading of the title creates a different take. Many conclude that the sheer magnitude of the wealth possessed by the Asians in Crazy Rich Asians is being described as ‘crazy’ by the film’s title and that the title makes no comment on the mental health of the central characters.

It’s a radical reading, but one based on the rules of language. There is no comma in between the word ‘crazy’ and the word ‘rich’ in the title of Crazy Rich Asians. This does imply that the word crazy is being used to emphasise the richness, rather than also describe the state of the ‘Asians’. Although this does not fit the traditional usage of the word ‘crazy’, this usage has been popularised in recent culture.

For us, the second reading of the title makes the most sense, but what do you think? Vote on the poll below

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