10 Best Movies Like ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Crazy Rich Asians showed off the lavish lifestyles of Asia’s ultra-rich while still telling a heartfelt story about love, family, and cultural differences. Rather than just focusing on flashy spectacle, this film took audiences through the complexities of generational expectations and the struggle to reconcile the past with the present. A dazzling display of fashion, breathtaking Southeast Asian locales, and occasional cheeky humor complemented its captivating narrative.

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Beneath the layers of gold and glitz lay the age-old quest for acceptance and the challenges of forging one’s path in a world steeped in tradition. Now, for those of you who reveled in this epic display of affluence and soul, may I subtly nudge you towards similar movies like The Joy Luck Club for a deep dive into generational tales and nine others that satisfy that appetite for stories that tug at heartstrings while serving a side of cultural enrichment.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

The Covey sisters sit together in To All the Boys I've Loved Before.
(Netflix)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, set in the age of digital everything, opts for the antiquated charm of ink on paper. Our protagonist, Lara Jean (Lana Condor), is thrown into the tumult of high school drama when her secret love letters are accidentally leaked. The ensuing faux relationship with heartthrob Peter (Noah Centineo), meant to save face, serves a delicious mix of comic misunderstandings and genuine feelings. 

Between the nostalgia-evoking lock screens and Yakult shoutouts, the film artfully taps into young adulthood’s genuine awkwardness and yearning while reminding us of the timeless power of the written word—even in the Snapchat era. 

The Farewell (2019) 

Billi (Akwafina) stands alongside her family members in a scene from 'The Farewell' (A24)
(A24)

While most families might dodge the topic of impending doom, our dear protagonist Billi’s (Awkwafina) clan takes on an ambitious project: a faux wedding as a ruse to bid goodbye to their terminally ill matriarch, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao). What ensues isn’t a sad dirge but a vibrant symphony of suppressed emotions, awkward encounters, and the universal dance between Eastern traditions and Western sensibilities. 

Director Lulu Wang crafts a tale where language barriers aren’t merely linguistic. The true brilliance of The Farewell isn’t just in its witty exchanges but in its pregnant pauses, holding entire conversations in silent glances. In a world where we’re often told to “let it all out,” here’s a film that whispers, “Sometimes, it’s okay to hold it all in.” 

Always Be My Maybe (2019) 

Ali Wong and Randall Park sit in the car, laughing and smiling at one another in the movie Always Be My Maybe.
(Netflix)

Childhood sweethearts Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) fall out after a teenage tryst turned sour, and reunite years later. Now she’s a culinary queen and he’s still figuring it all out in the same neighborhood. A delectable dish of romance, humor, and the inescapable gravitational pull of first loves ensues. Sure, it checks the boxes of rom-com tropes, but it also adds a dash of Asian-American spice that’s been notably missing from Hollywood’s not-so-melting pot. 

Always Be My Maybe isn’t just a story of love rekindled, but also a celebration of cultural identity, family ties, and the irresistible allure of home (even when wrapped in the guise of a dorky, air-conditioning enthusiast). 

The Joy Luck Club (1993) 

the mothers and daughters of the joy luck club.
(Buena Vista Pictures)

The Joy Luck Club dives deep into the hot topic of generational divides, cultural migrations, and the ever-elusive quest for mahjong dominance. Set against a backdrop that flits between the bustling streets of San Francisco and the sweeping landscapes of pre-revolutionary China, the movie deftly oscillates between heartwrenching tales of sacrifice and the lighter, almost comical missteps of assimilation. 

Based on Amy Tan’s literary masterpiece, it unpacks years of family baggage without ever needing to overstuff its cinematic suitcase. The real charm? Watching as stories unravel, revealing not just the pains and pangs of motherhood but the age-old tension between old-world values and new-world dreams. 

The Half of It (2020)

The Half of It cast watching a film
(Netflix)

Set in the sleepy town of Squamish, The Half of It follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), who is not your typical love-struck teen but a side-hustling essayist helping a jock (Daniel Diemer) woo the girl (Alexxis Lemire) of his dreams. But here’s the twist—Ellie harbors a secret crush on the same girl. What unfolds isn’t just a tangled love triangle but a coming-of-age exploration into friendship, self-discovery, and the many facets of love. 

The film doesn’t merely rehash high school clichés; it goes deeper, nudging its characters (and viewers) to question the true nature of connection. Between poetic text exchanges and bumbling attempts at flirtation, The Half of It is a gentle reminder that sometimes, finding oneself can be as fortunate as finding love. 

Searching (2018) 

John Cho in Searching a great movie
(Sony Pictures Releasing)

Searching invites us into the seemingly ordinary life of David Kim (John Cho), a father turned amateur sleuth when his daughter Margot mysteriously disappears. Rather than the familiar gloomy alleyways and dimly lit basements, our protagonist sifts through digital footprints on Facebook, FaceTime, and other virtual realms we’re all probably guilty of spending too much time on. 

The film transforms our mundane screen life into a nail-biting thriller, reminding us that secrets still find their shadowy corners in the age of oversharing. Searching isn’t just about finding Margot; it’s a clever commentary on the paradox of modern connectivity, where one can be simultaneously overexposed yet overlooked. 

Never Forever (2007) 

Vera Farmiga and David Lee McInnis in Never Forever
(Arts Alliance)

Explore the inner life of Sophie (Vera Farmiga), a New Yorker whose seemingly perfect exterior conceals a storm of repressed emotions and illicit liaisons. When faced with her husband’s infertility, our brave (or is it brazen?) protagonist seeks an unconventional solution, forging a fling with Jihah (Ha Jung-woo), an immigrant with dreams and dilemmas of his own. 

Director Gina Kim doesn’t serve us a simple affair on a platter; she dishes out a complex recipe of cultural intersections, identity crises, and the lengths one might go to for love—or its facsimile. Never Forever isn’t just about defying societal norms; it delves into personal boundaries, making us question where sacrifice ends and self-deception begins.

Chan is Missing (1982) 

Wood Moy and Marc Hayashi sit at a table in 'Chan is Missing'.
(New Yorker Films)

Chan is Missing is a film that challenges the stereotype, “All Asians look alike,” while cheekily asking, “But have you seen Chan?” Set against the vibrant surroundings of San Francisco’s Chinatown, this black-and-white indie treat follows Jo (Wood Moy) and Steve (Marc Hayashi), two cab drivers, as they traverse a confusing web of cultural identities and misunderstandings in search of the mysterious Chan. 

This film isn’t your typical detective noir; director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) serves a masterful melange of humor, socio-political commentary, and just the right amount of quirk. Chan is Missing isn’t merely a search for a missing person but a quest to understand the multifaceted Asian-American identity. 

Gook (2017) 

Justin Chon and Simone Baker sit in a car in the pouring rsin in Justin Chon film 'Gook'.
(Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Gook is a movie that manages to be both contemporary and classic. In this tale, brothers Eli (Justin Chon) and Daniel Park (David So), both of Korean descent, manage the family business, a shoe store in Los Angeles. The brothers get swept up in the 1992 Rodney King riots when their store is plundered, and their neighborhood is decimated.

The film is a powerful and moving exploration of race, class, and identity in America. It’s also a surprisingly funny film, thanks to the sharp and witty writing of director Justin Chon. Chon does an excellent job of combining the emotional and comic aspects of the picture, resulting in a work that succeeds on both fronts.

Saving Face (2004) 

Michelle Krusiec and Joan Chen sit on a couch in 'Saving Face'.
(Sony Pictures Classics)

Welcome to the world of Wil (Michelle Krusiec), a young Chinese-American surgeon mastering the art of balancing her hidden lesbian love life and the sudden arrival of her pregnant, unwed mother, Ma (Joan Chen). If you thought your family dinners were awkward, wait until you’re navigating the choppy waters of cultural expectations and modern-day desires in Flushing, Queens. 

Director Alice Wu (who also directed The Half of It), in a refreshing twist, doesn’t just give us a coming-out story but throws in a delightful tale of an older woman rediscovering love. Saving Face isn’t just about the masks we wear; it’s a celebration of the brave moments we choose to shed them. 

(featured image: Warner Bros. Pictures)


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Image of Faith Katunga
Faith Katunga
Faith is a freelance journalist with an insatiable curiosity for all aspects of current events, from the global economy and fashion to pop culture and travel. She watches an absurd number of cat videos on Instagram when not reading or writing about what is going on in the world. Faith has written for several publications, including We Got This Covered, Italy Magazine, TheTravel, etc., and holds a master's degree in Fashion Culture and Management.