Arts & Culture

12 Differences Between the Crazy Rich Asians Movie and the Book

The differences go beyond that intense mah jong showdown.
IMAGE COURTESY FULLY BOOKED; WARNER BROS. PICTURES
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If your internet browsing and excessive clicking have brought you to this story, we're assuming that you’ve already seen Crazy Rich Asians in your nearby cinema, otherwise, be wary of the movie spoilers ahead. 


1. Eleanor Young is the one who purchases the swanky hotel in London at the beginning of the film.

In Kevin Kwan’s novel, it is Felicity Leong, Astrid’s mother, who makes the in-your-face purchase. It is later mentioned that Astrid frequents the luxury hotel whenever she’s in town. 

2. In the book, the Goh family has no clue who the Youngs are.


While the on-screen Gohs are appalled that Rachel is dating Nick Young, which makes it easier for the script to explain just how wealthy Nick’s family is through Peik Lin’s knowledge, their book counterparts do not know about the family or Tyersall Park at all. The Youngs are supposedly immensely secretive and have always shied away from publicity. They've even ordered society magazines to refrain from ever publishing any information about them. 

3. In the film, Rachel meets Eleanor early on at Ah Ma’s tan hua party.


We get to see Eleanor and Rachel interact more on screen. In the book, Eleanor doesn't attend Su Yi’s party, since she is in Shenzhen talking to a private investigator. While Eleanor’s character is, no doubt, a tiger mom, her portrayal is a lot more comical in the written version.

4. In the book, Nick has so many more crazy rich cousins.


The Young family tree is huge, and even mentions the Shangs, who are Nick's second cousins. Though they don’t make an appearance in the first book, the Youngs have a daughter who married into Thai royalty. Also not in the movie: Nick’s single aunt Victoria and his father Philip, who actually gets to meet Rachel and approves of her.

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5. In the book, Michael Teo only fakes an affair.


In the movie, Astrid discovers that her husband is having an affair with a mystery woman. This isn’t half as dramatic in the book, where Astrid tries to patch things up with Michael only to discover that he is faking his affair with a cousin only so his wife would leave him. The movie also establishes Michael as a budding startup CEO from the get-go, while the book paints him as a struggling entrepreneur.

6. In the book, Charlie Wu has more of a presence.

He isn’t just introduced as a nameless man, as the film suggests. Charlie Wu, Astrid’s ex-fiance, is helping her track down Michael’s “lover” in order to save their marriage. Charlie also makes a secret investment in Michael’s startup to give him a self-esteem boost.

7. In the film, Astrid attends Araminta’s bridal shower and gets to comfort Rachel.


Astrid and Rachel’s private chat by the beach makes for a touching scene between Nick’s girlfriend and his cousin, but in the book, the scene never happened. Rachel befriends Astrid’s cousin and Colin Khoo’s sister, Sophie, during the bachelorette party. Sophie is the one who helps Rachel during the whole dead fish fiasco. 

8. In the book, Francesca Shaw is another major villain in Rachel’s way.

Francesca, the daughter of Eleanor’s friend Nadine Shaw, tries to get on Eleanor’s good side by driving a wedge between Nick and Rachel. At one point during the wedding reception, she even mentions that she, Nick, and Nick’s ex Amanda Ling once had a ménage à trois in Italy.

9. In the film, Colin’s bachelor party is held in a remote container van compound in the middle of the sea.


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Bernard Tai plans an extravagant stag party for Colin, which they have to get to by chopper. The book’s characters, however, have an even wilder time as they head to Macau for a party that dabbles in drugs and dog fights. When Colin and Nick tire of the scene, they take some of their closest friends to Australia via medical chopper. 

10. Nick loves his Ah Ma’s scones, not her dumplings.

Book Nick goes on about his Ah Ma’s scones, while Movie Nick is a huge fan of her dumplings. The dumpling-making scene added into the movie paved the way for Eleanor’s spiel about how she was never given Su Yi’s engagement ring.

11. In the film, Nick gets to propose to Racheltwice at that!


Nick proposes to Rachel, first, on the steps of a park, where he is rejected, and finally on the plane. The book was way harsher on Nick and Rachel’s relationship. The two find alone time at a family cottage at the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, and just as Nick is about to propose, Su Yi and Eleanor intercept him, which is when Eleanor reveals what her private investigator has dug up about Rachel’s alleged father. The investigator gets this wrong, however, and the imprisoned husband of Kerry Chu does not turn out to be the heroine’s father. This truth is only later revealed by Kerry when she arrives in Singapore to stop Rachel from journeying to China.

12. In the movie, Princess Intan’s character is introduced to help prove that Rachel is tougher than Eleanor and the other aunties had thought.


While there is a Malay princess in the book—who’s a huge fan of Kitty Pong’s and even presents her with a ring—Princess Intan is a new character who engages Rachel during the wedding scene. Rachel sits next to her when she is rejected by Nick’s mother and aunts.

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