Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Michelle Yeoh
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Romantic comedy directed by Jon M. Chu and the story follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), who accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel soon is surprised to learn that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy and he’s considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and Nick’s disapproving mother, Eleanor Sung-Young (Michelle Yeoh) taking aim.
Best Quotes (Total Quotes: 35)
[eating at a cafe]
Nick Young: So, what about us taking an adventure east?
Rachel Chu: You want to get pork buns in the East Village. That’s what it is, isn’t it?
Nick Young: I was actually thinking of further east.
Rachel Chu: Like Queens?
Nick Young: Like Singapore, for spring break. Colin’s wedding. We’ve been dating for over a year now, and I think it’s about time people met my beautiful girlfriend. Come on, I’m Colin’s best man. Don’t you want to see where I grew up? Meet my family, my Ah Ma? And meet up with that strange college roommate of yours.
Rachel Chu: Peik Lin.
Nick Young: Mm-hmm. Peik Lin.
Rachel Chu: She has been begging me to come visit her, you know.
Nick Young: The universe has spoken. It wants you over there. Come to Singapore. I want the whole island to meet the brilliant Rachel Chu.
[during a bible study gathering]
Jacqueline Ling: Eleanor, is Nicki bringing a girl to Colin’s wedding? My Amanda heard it from her friend Francesca.
Alix Young: Eddie says her name is Rachel Chu.
Nadine Shao: Oh, I thought that Nick was coming alone. Did you know he had a girlfriend?
Eleanor Young: Nick dates many girls. It’s hard to keep track.
Jacqueline Ling: Amanda knows everyone and she has never heard of her. Rachel Chu. Maybe she’s from the Taiwan plastics Chu family.
Alix Young: If you want, I have a private investigator. Very discreet.
Eleanor Young: I think we should return to the word of God.
[referring to the dress she’s holding against herself]
Rachel Chu: Hey, mom, this one’s kind of cute. What do you think?
Kerry Chu: No, no, no, no! You can’t wear that to meet Nick’s Ah Ma. Blue and white is for Chinese funerals.
[holds up a red dress]
Kerry Chu: Now this, this symbolizes good fortune and fertility.
Rachel Chu: Great, I was really going for that “lucky baby maker” vibe.
Kerry Chu: Hey, you’re the one who asked for my help picking out a dress to meet Nick’s family.
Rachel Chu: It’s only because I hardly know anything about them. Every time I bring them up, Nick changes the subject.
Kerry Chu: Maybe he’s embarrassed. Maybe his parents are poor, and he has to send them money. That’s what all good Chinese children do. Now you’re going to have a wonderful time. You’ve always wanted to go to Asia. And who knows, if all goes well in Singapore, you might just come back with a souvenir.
Rachel Chu: Mom, stop! Nick and I haven’t even talked about that. I mean, his parents can’t not like me, right? What was that look? I saw that.
Kerry Chu: Nothing. It’s just, Nick bringing a girl all the way there to meet them can mean a lot to these overseas families. They’re different from us.
Rachel Chu: How are they different? They’re Chinese, I’m Chinese. I’m so Chinese, I’m an economics professor with lactose intolerance.
Kerry Chu: Yeah, but you grew up here. You’re different.
Kerry Chu: Your Face is Chinese. You speak Chinese.
[points to her head and hear]
Kerry Chu: But here and here…
Kerry Chu: You’re different. But wearing a lucky color will make a good first impression.
First Class Flight Attendant: Good afternoon, Mr. Young, Miss Chu. We’ll take your bags and get you checked into first class.
Nick Young: Great.
Rachel Chu: Oh, no, there’s a mistake. We’re not first class. We’re economy people.
First Class Flight Attendant: This way, please.
Nick Young: Just go with it. Come on.
Rachel Chu: But…
[referring to their bags]
Nick Young: Yeah, they’ll be fine. Just leave them there.
[referring to their first class flight]
Rachel Chu: Nick. We can’t afford this.
[holds up pajamas]
Rachel Chu: These pajamas are fancier than any of my real clothes.
Nick Young: My family has business with the airline. The tickets, they’re a perk.
Rachel Chu: What kind of business?
Nick Young: Real estate, investment, other things. Nothing interesting.
Rachel Chu: So your family is like rich?
Nick Young: We’re comfortable.
Rachel Chu: That is exactly what a super rich person would say. It’s not a big deal, obviously. I just think it’s kind of weird that I had no idea. I mean, you have a Jamba Juice card. You use my Netflix password. You play basketball at that Y that kind of smells.
Nick Young: I really like that place, thank you very much. And yes, my family has money, but I’ve always thought of it as theirs. Not mine.
Rachel Chu: I get that, but I’m going all the way over there to meet them. I kind of just want to know what I’m getting into. And, you know, they’re your family.
Nick Young: Well, my family is much like anybody else’s.
Rachel Chu: Mm-hmm.
Nick Young: There’s half of them that you love and respect, and then there’s the other half.
Rachel Chu: Which half am I meeting?
Eddie Cheng: Russel, thank you so much. It’s an honor to be photographed by you.
Russel Wong: My pleasure. People will love it in the next Hong Kong Vogue.
Fiona Cheng: Thank you, Russel.
Eddie Cheng: Hong Kong Vogue? I knew it! Your dress is a disaster. If you wore the Bottega gown like I told you to, we’d be in the American Vogue!
Fiona Cheng: You can wear that gown to Hell, Eddie.
Neenah Goh: So, Rachel, what you do in America?
Rachel Chu: Um, I’m an economics professor.
Neenah Goh: Woh. Very impressive. Econ professor, eh? Wow, you must be very smart. Good for you.
Wye Mun Goh: Let me get this straight. You both went to the same school. Yet someone came back with a degree that’s useful, and the other one came back as Asian Ellen.
Rachel Chu: Oh, well, my boyfriend’s actually from Singapore, and that’s why we’re here. We’re here to go to his best friend’s wedding, where he’s going to be the best man.
Neenah Goh: What’s his name? This is a very small island. Maybe we know his family.
Rachel Chu: His name is Nick Young.
[everyone at the table looks at her]
Peik Lin Goh: The Nick you’re dating is Nick Young?
Neenah Goh: His best friend… You’re invited to Colin Khoo’s wedding?
Rachel Chu: Yeah, you guys know them or something?
Wye Mun Goh: Hells yeah. The Khoos, the Youngs. I mean, who doesn’t know who they are? They’re just the biggest developers in all of Singapore. And Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, New Mexico.
Peik Lin Goh: She gets it.
Peik Lin Goh: Rachel, these people aren’t just rich, okay? They’re crazy rich. Look.
[she picks up a handbag with the map of Asia on it]
Peik Lin Goh: There’s new money all over Asia. We got the Beijing billionaires, the Taiwan tycoons, but the Young family, they’re old money rich. They had money when they left China in the 1800s, and they went all the way down here. Not there. Here. They came to Singapore, when there was nothing but jungle and pig farmers. There was a snake here lik eating an apple. You know what I mean? And they built all of this. Now, they’re the landlords of the most expensive city in the world. Here you go.
[gives Rachel the bag]
Peik Lin Goh: These people are so posh and snobby, they’re snoshy.
[hands Rachel a pair of shoes]
Peik Lin Goh: Here you go.
Rachel Chu: Yeah, but Nick’s not like that.
Peik Lin Goh: Even if he isn’t, I guarantee you the family is. Which is why tonight, you need to not look like Sebastian of The Little Mermaid. You know, the little crab guy?
[as they drive through Nick’s family estate]
Rachel Chu: Oh, my God, it’s beautiful.
Peik Lin Goh: Beautiful? It’s two hundred mil worth of real estate. It’s spectacular.
[as they drive up to the house, they see Nick walkig towards them]
Peik Lin Goh: Damn, Rachel. He’s like the Asian Bachelor.
Rachel Chu: You know, when you said you grew up in your grandma’s house, I wasn’t expecting this.
[Rachel is offered a bowl of liquid]
Rachel Chu: Thank you.
[as Rachel goes to drink from the bowl]
Nick Young: Oh, no, no! Those are for your fingers.
Nick Young: Mum, this is Rachel Chu.
Rachel Chu: Oh, my gosh! I’m so happy to meet you, Mrs. Young. Or Auntie. Right? I’m learning the lingo.
Eleanor Young: I’m very glad to finally meet you too. And I’m sorry Nick’s father couldn’t be here. He was called to business in Shanghai.
Nick Young: I told Rachel when duty calls, dad answers.
Eleanor Young: As it should be.
Eleanor Young: Nick tells me you’re a professor too. What do you teach?
Rachel Chu: Um, I teach economics.
Nick Young: And she’s brilliant. NYU’s youngest faculty member.
Eleanor Young: So, economics, sounds challenging. Are your parents academics as well?
Rachel Chu: Uh, no. Well, my dad actually died before I was born, and my mom didn’t even go to college. She actually hardly spoke any English when she immigrated to the United States. But she worked really hard, and she studied and she earned her real estate license while she was waiting tables to support us. Now, she likes to say that she’s Flushing’s top real estate broker.
Eleanor Young: Self-made woman. She must be so proud of you.
Rachel Chu: Well, she knows that I’m passionate about what I do, and she’s always wanted that for me.
Eleanor Young: Pursuing one’s passion. How American. Well, your mother’s very open-minded, not like here, where parents are obsessed with shaping the life of their children.
Astrid Young Teo: So, have you prepped Rachel to face the wolves?
Nick Young: Rachel is a New Yorker. She lectures millennials for a living. I think she’ll manage our family.
Astrid Young Teo: You’ve been away too long.
Colin Khoo: Dude, ever since primary school, you were always going to be the next chairman of the Young Corporation, your family’s shining heir. You really think your family’s going to accept anything less than that? I mean unless you… No. Are you thinking of walking out? Leaving everything to bloody Alistair and Eddie?
Nick Young: I’m not walking out on anything. I met a girl, I fell in love, and I want to marry her. And it can’t just be one thing or the other.
Colin Khoo: Uh, no, no, no. It’s not that simple. You know that.
Araminta Lee: [to Rachel] I really admire you. It takes guts coming all the way over here, facing Nick’s family. Especially when Eleanor isn’t exactly in your corner.
Colin Khoo: Okay, your family aside, have you ever thought about what your relationship with Rachel will be like if you got married? I mean, okay, you’re Nicholas Young. You’re untouchable. You always have been. But Rachel’s not. And if she becomes Mrs. Nicholas Young, every day for her is going to be a struggle.
[referring to making dumplings]
Rachel Chu: Did you guys all learn when you were kids?
Astrid Young Teo: We didn’t have a choice.
Felicity Young: We taught you so you’d know the blood, sweat, and tears it took to raise and feed you monkeys.
Alix Young: Not like the ang-mohs, microwaving macaroni and cheese for their own children. No wonder they put their parents in the old folks’ home when they all grow up.
Felicity Young: I know!
Eleanor Young: Ah Ma says if we don’t pass traditions down like this, they’ll disappear.
Astrid Young Teo: God forbid, we lose the ancient Chinese tradition of guilting your children.
Nick Young: It’s totally worth it. Mother used to wait for me after school with a nice basket of these.
Rachel Chu: It’s just great seeing you guys all like this. When I was growing up, it was just me and my mom, which I loved. But we didn’t really have a big family like this. It’s really nice.
Oliver T’sien: Oh, that’s so lovely of you to say, Rachel. We are all very lucky to have each other.
Rachel Chu: That’s a beautiful ring, Auntie Eleanor. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Eleanor Young: Nick’s father had it made when he proposed to me.
Rachel Chu: That’s very romantic. How did you guys meet?
Nick Young: Actually, they met at Cambridge. They were both studying law together.
Rachel Chu: Oh, I didn’t know you were a lawyer.
Eleanor Young: I wasn’t. I withdrew from university when we got married.
Rachel Chu: Oh.
Eleanor Young: I chose to help my husband run a business and to raise a family. For me, it was a privilege. But for you, you may think it’s old-fashioned. It’s nice you appreciate this house and us being here together wrapping dumplings, but all this doesn’t just happen. It’s because we know to put family first, instead of chasing one’s passion.
Eleanor Young: I’m glad I found you. I am afraid that I’ve been unfair.
Rachel Chu: Oh, no, you know what, I’m sorry I made an assumption. I didn’t mean to offend you.
Eleanor Young: Not at all. You asked about my ring. The truth is Nick’s father had it made when he wanted to propose to me because Ah Ma wouldn’t give him the family ring. I wasn’t her first choice. Honestly, I wasn’t her second.
Rachel Chu: Gosh, I’m so sorry. I had no idea.
Eleanor Young: I didn’t come from the right family, have the right connections, and Ah Ma thought I would not make an adequate wife to her son.
Rachel Chu: But she came around, obviously.
Eleanor Young: It took many years, and she had good reason to be concerned. Because I had no idea the work and the sacrifice it would take. There were many days when I wondered if I would ever measure up. But having been through it all, I know this much.
[she leans a little closer and touches Rachel’s face]
Eleanor Young: You will never be enough.
[she starts walking down the stairs]
Eleanor Young: We should head back. I wouldn’t want Nick to worry.
Peik Lin Goh: Wait, what?! Was she like, “You will never be good enough for my son?” Or was it like, “You, you will never be good enough for my son?”
Rachel Chu: It’s like the second one.
Peik Lin Goh: Oh.
Rachel Chu: Except for in a way that made me want to cry and puke at the same time.
Peik Lin Goh: Gosh, she’s so badass. You know, I bet if you told her you’d leave Nick for like a million dollars, she will write that check. They do that around here.
Rachel Chu: And she looked at me like I was nothing.
Peik Lin Goh: Like a ten million dollar check. I feel like she would do that.
Rachel Chu: I don’t even know what I should do. I mean, I can’t even tell Nick because he like worships her.
Peik Lin Goh: Yeah, Chinese sons think their moms fart Chanel No. 5. What about the Ah Ma, does she hate your face too?
Rachel Chu: Okay, nobody said they hated my face. And Ah Ma, she liked my face. She said I had a lucky nose.
Peik Lin Goh: That’s great! You know, Eleanor can hate you all day long, but you can’t beat two thousand years of Chinese filial piety.
Rachel Chu: I feel like I shouldn’t even go to the wedding. You know, it’s Colin and Araminta’s day. I don’t want to cause any drama there. I feel like I should just sit it out. You know, tell Nick I had food poisoning or something.
[Peik Lin stares at her]
Rachel Chu: What?
Peik Lin Goh: That’s bullshit. You’re just scared.
Rachel Chu: No, I’m not.
Peik Lin Goh: Okay, here’s what you need to understand. Alright? It’s not about getting Eleanor to like you. It’s about getting her to respect you, alright? Right now, she just thinks you’re some like undeserving, clueless, gold-digging…
Rachel Chu: Yeah, I got it.
Peik Lin Goh: …trashy, unrefined banana. Yellow on the outside and white on the inside.
Rachel Chu: I know what a banana is.
Peik Lin Goh: When, in reality, you’re like a super sophisticated, smart professor of freaking game theory. Show her that side of you, you know?
Rachel Chu: You’re right.
Peik Lin Goh: Damn straight, I’m right. It’s Peik Lin, I’m always right.
[referring to Eleanor]
Rachel Chu: Yeah, she’s like trying to play a game of chicken with me. Where she’s like coming at me, and like thinking I’m going to swerve like a chicken.
Peik Lin Goh: But you can’t swerve.
Rachel Chu: I’m not going to swerve. Not for her.
Peik Lin Goh: No, chickens are bitches, dude!
Rachel Chu: And I’m not a chicken.
Peik Lin Goh: You’re not a chicken. You’re going to roll up to that wedding, and you’re going to be like, “Bak-bak, bitch!”
Rachel Chu: Bak-bak, bitch!
Peik Lin Goh: Chickens are bitches!
Oliver T’sien: Sweetie, your skin is so dry, it’s hurting my face.
Rachel Chu: Thank you.
Oliver T’sien: [to Rachel] You know, it’s about time someone stood up to Auntie Eleanor. Well, you, not me. Oh, God! She can’t know I was ever here.
[referring to Rachel’s beaded dress that she’s trying on]
Peik Lin Goh: I’m blinded by the light.
Oliver T’sien: This is why disco died.
[referring to another dress Rachel is trying on]
Peik Lin Goh: You kind of look like a slutty Ebola virus.
Oliver T’sien: It’s like a bag of Skittles. Taste the rainbow.
Eleanor Young: Is this a church or a paddy field?
Alix Young: They spent forty million on the wedding.
Felicity Young: Really? That’s too much. We’re Methodists, twenty million is our limit.
Alix Young: I know.
Nick Young: Ah Ma, Mum, what’s all this about? Ah Ma!
Ah Ma: [in Chinese] Rachel, I’ve only known you for a short time, but it’s clear you’re a very smart woman. But I will not permit you to ruin my grandson with your ambition.
Nick Young: Ah Ma!
Eleanor Young: I’m sorry to tell you, but Rachel has been lying to us about her family and her mother.
Rachel Chu: What are you talking about?
Eleanor Young: I hired a private investigator…
Nick Young: Mum, you didn’t.
Eleanor Young: …to look into her past. She said her father passed away in China…
Nick Young: Mum!
Eleanor Young: …but that’s not true. Your mother’s husband is very much alive. During her marriage, she cheated on him and became pregnant with another man’s child. And before he found out, she ran away to America. It’s all in here.
Nick Young: You had no right!
Eleanor Young: We had every right!
Nick Young: You did not!
Rachel Chu: You’re lying!
Eleanor Young: Do you have any idea the scandal this would have caused for Rachel to hide something like this?
Nick Young: She wouldn’t have.
Eleanor Young: We cannot be linked to this sort of family.
Rachel Chu: I don’t want any part of your family.
[Rachel starts running off]
Nick Young: Rachel…
Ah Ma: [in Chinese] Don’t chase after her and degrade yourself. I forbid it!
Nick Young: Let me go!
Ah Ma: [in Chinese] If you go with her, you can’t come back!
[Nick runs after Rachel]
Nick Young: Rachel.
Eleanor Young: Nick!
Ah Ma: [in Chinese] This is your fault. You let this happen by allowing him to stay away so long. Now look!
[as Rachel is trying to leave the wedding]
Eddie Cheng: Hey, Cinderella. What’s wrong? You got to return your dress before midnight?
Nick Young: I’m so sorry about everything. What my mother did to you is unforgivable.
Rachel Chu: It’s not your fault.
Nick Young: It is. Ever since I can remember, my family has been my whole life. And I am done making excuses for them.
[he takes out an engagement ring box from his pocket and opens it]
Rachel Chu: Nick.
Nick Young: Marry me. Marry me, and we’ll start a new life together in New York. Just you and me. I’ll leave all of this behind.
Rachel Chu: Thanks for meeting me here.
[referring to the other two women at the Mahjong table]
Rachel Chu: Don’t worry about them. They’re half deaf and they only speak Hokkien.
[Eleanor sits down and starts playing Mahjong]
Rachel Chu: My mom taught me how to play. She told me Mahjong would teach me important life skills. Negotiation, strategy, cooperation.
Eleanor Young: You asked me here, I assume it’s not for a Mahjong lesson. My mother taught me, too.
Rachel Chu: I know Nick told you the truth about my mom. But you didn’t like me the second I got here. Why is that?
Eleanor Young: There is a Hokkien phrase “kaki lang”. It means, “Our own kind of people.” And you’re not our own kind.
Rachel Chu: Because I’m not rich? Because I didn’t go to a British boarding school, or I wasn’t born into a wealthy family?
Eleanor Young: You’re a foreigner. American. And all Americans think about is their own happiness.
Rachel Chu: Don’t you want Nick to be happy?
Eleanor Young: It’s an illusion. We understand how to build things that last. Something you know nothing about.
Rachel Chu: You don’t know me.
Eleanor Young: I know you’re not what Nick needs.
Rachel Chu: Well, he proposed to me yesterday. He said he’d walk away from his family and from you for good. Don’t worry. I turned him down.
Eleanor Young: Only a fool folds a winning hand.
Rachel Chu: There’s no winning. You made sure of that. Because if Nick chose me, he would lose his family. And if he chose his family, he might spend the rest of his life resenting you.
[Eleanor reveals her tiles]
Eleanor Young: So you chose for him.
Rachel Chu: I’m not leaving because I’m scared, or because I think I’m not enough. Because maybe for the first time in my life, I know I am. I just love Nick so much. I don’t want him to lose his mom again. So I just wanted you to know that one day, when he marries another lucky girl, who is enough for you, and you’re playing with your grandkids while the tan huas are blooming, or the birds are chirping, that it was because of me. A poor, raised by a single mother, low class, immigrant nobody.
[she reveals her tiles, gets up, walks over to her mom, who turns to give Eleanor a cold glance, before walking off with Rachel arm in arm]
Michael Teo: Look, you know, it’s not just my fault that things didn’t work out.
Astrid Young Teo: You’re right. I shouldn’t have kept things from you. Hidden my shoes, turned down jobs, charity work, worrying that it might make you feel lesser than. But let’s be clear, the problem with our marriage isn’t my family’s money. It’s that you’re a coward. You gave up on us. But I’ve just realized, it’s not my job to make you feel like a man. I can’t make you something you’re not.
Nick Young: I know this is a far throw from a hidden paradise, but wherever you are in the world, that’s where I belong.
Rachel Chu: But I…
[he kneels on one knee in front of Rachel, opens up the engagement ring box which has Eleanor’s ring, revealing her blessing]
Nick Young: Rachel Chu, will you marry me and make me the happiest man in this world?
Woman: Yes! Yes! Yes! She will marry you!
Rachel Chu: Yes!
[Rachel and Nick kiss and the passengers on the plane cheer]
Nick Young: I love you.
Rachel Chu: I love you, too. This is going to be some flight back to New York.
Nick Young: Well, I was actually thinking about staying one more night.
Total Quotes: 35
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