Crazy Rich Asians Story Breakdown Part 1

Here is a breakdown of the story beats of the story of personal growth with an ensemble protagonist. It is made even more complex without being confusing by changing up the order of the beats and repeating them through out the movie. These are the top story beats I recall from a cinema viewing (normally I watch at home and pause and re-watch a few times.)

These are the story beats I discuss in my screenwriting class.

SPOILER ALERT – here is my interpretation of the Crazy Rich Asian story structure with details of the plot line. Don’t read this unless you have seen the movie!

Dependent World

Nick’s mom falls in love and marries above her station and spends the rest of her life working hard to earn her mother-in-law’s acceptance. (We never see her husband in the movie because he is always working!) Highly successful financially, they are still facing low status on the international hierarchy (and related access to safety and resources) due to racism. When Nick was young he traveled with his Mom to acquire a hotel and they were refused a room because people didn’t know who they were. Money solved the problem of racism.

personal growth story

Price of Conformity

Nick’s Mom gives up her dream of being a lawyer and her precious son Nick is traded like a commodity: raised by his Grandmother is order to ensure gramma accepts him and his mom. It’s a world where family is run like a corporate transaction.

Opportunity to Shine

Nick Young meets Rachel Chu in the US and feels what it is like to be a person in charge of his destiny and driven by love.

Dresses the Part

Nick undresses to experience the joy of an intimate connection that reflects his value for being himself.

Dependent World

Nick Young is the heir to a massive fortune and is due to lead the family company in Singapore, as long as he meets family expectations. Highly privileged and charming, the catch of the country, Nick solves his problems with boyish charm. (“I didn’t tell you the whole story because I was really enjoying our time together”.)

Price of Conformity

Dependant on the approval of his family, Nick is forever a dutiful child disconnected from his authentic voice and unable to grow up.

Secret World

When with Rachel, Nick feels truly himself and knows what he wants from life.

Kingdom in Chaos

over-the-top stag parties. Women pretend to be Rachel’s friends and put a gutted fish is Rachel’s bed with a wicked note.

No longer Fits His World

Nick’s best friend and his mother are unsupportive of Nick’s dream to marry Rachel. No amount of boyish charm will resolve this dilemma.

Two Worlds Collide

Nick’s mother pretends she wants to know Rachel to make her vulnerable and then stabs her in the heart figuratively by telling her she is not enough.

Gives Up What Kept Her Stuck

Rachel recognizes that she needs to maintain her sense of self even when Nick’s mother tells her she will never be good enough for Nick. Other people don’t tell you your value. You show them your value! Your story of being Asian in America or of a poor single mom family doesn’t define you.

Kingdom in Chaos

A gold-digger actress looks to marry a rich Asian with embarrassing public displays, Nick’s sister, Astrid, who has the kindest heart and married for love against the family rule of marrying within her class, learns that her husband is having an affair.

Two Worlds Collide

Nick’s mother tells his grandmother that Rachel is the illegitimate child of a woman who cheated on her husband in China. The threat to the family name makes this union impossible.

Wanders in the Wilderness

Rachel is presented with information on her parentage that she never new, and learns Nick’s family will never accept her. She retreats to her bed, unable to eat, as she feels cut adrift from the life she thought she would have and the one she once had with Nick.

Half Rescue

Nick defends Rachel, knowing she would not have lied to him (sees her value but she still is without place).

Half Rescue

Nick calls Rachel’s Mom and flies her to Singapore to support Rachel (sees her value).

Chooses Her Light

Nick determines he will marry Rachel and give up the family fortune, and the associated tentacles of control. He decides the values he will live by separate from what everyone expects for him (he rescues himself).

Chooses Her Light

Rachel recognizes that she loves Nick and the only outcome that will work is the one where Nick enjoys the love and support of his wife and his mother. She uses her gift in game theory to show her potential mother law that she loves him so much she will not be the cause of him losing his mother again (showing empathy for her future mother in law and the depth of her love) and that if his mother forces him to separate from his chosen love, Nick will suffer at her hand. The path they are on has no winner.

The Rescue

Rachel rescues Nick by recognizing his value and working to give him a place with her and his mother. She also rescues Nick’s mother by connecting to the pain she knew when she made the deal to trade her love-based role as a mother to secure Nick’s financial future. She rediscovers the world of love and the important role she has to play in Nick’s life.

The Rescue

Nick’s Mom recues Nick by giving her wedding ring to Nick to give to Rachel as a sign of her support of love-based matches.

The Rescue 

Nick rescues Rachel by organizing a party where he stands beside Rachel and they make a bridge to his life.

Kingdom is Brighter

Nick boards the plane and all the passengers are warmed by their love. He also plans a party with his community to state his love for Rachel and causes an expanded sense of acceptance and family connection based on love.

Crazy Rich Asians Story Breakdown Part 1

mm

About 

Kim Hudson is a narrative theorist and a pioneer in storytelling from the feminine perspective. She’s the originator of the ‘Virgin’ story structure. While a film student in Vancouver, Kim was told that all story from all time was based on one story, the Hero’s Journey, one universal story.
Kim instantly recognized the power of the Hero’s journey and began a lifelong journey to adapt and innovate the Hero’s journey into a revolutionary paradigm to enhance the storytelling and screenwriting journey from the feminine perspective.

For the next two decades she was thrown into her own quest to bring this new journey to life. Exploring mythology, psychology (Jung), story structure and hundreds of movies, Kim recognized a second story structure. She described it in her ground-breaking book, The Virgin’s Promise: Writing Stories of Creative, Spiritual and Sexual Awakening.

Kim has an unusual background. She is trained in geological exploration and is a specialist in treaty negotiation with indigenous people. She is currently a Fellow with Simon Fraser University Centre for Dialogue and Director of the Two Ways of Knowing project. She presents her unique story class internationally. She currently lives in the Yukon, Canada with her daughters and dog.