I really enjoyed this. It isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s a great hour and half’s entertainment. Documentary maker Zoe, on learning that her childhood friend/boy next door Kaz is going to have an arranged marriage, agrees with him and his family that she’ll make a film about the process. It’s billed as a romcom, but it also makes some serious points about the issues surrounding finding a partner when you’re expected to marry someone from the same religion and culture, and the fact that Zoe, looking for a love match, can’t find a partner and is lurching from one drunken one night stand to the next.
There’s an interesting sub-plot about Kaz’s sister, who’s been disowned by the family after falling in love with and marrying a white, non-Muslim man. Kaz’s other sibling, a brother, is married to someone “suitable”, but it was a love match after they met through a Muslim Harry Potter discussion group. Meanwhile, Zoe’s mum is desperate for her to find a husband, and is rather envious of her neighbours that they’re getting to help find a wife for their son.
One particularly positive thing about this film is that the sort of people who think that the BFG wearing a black cloak or Farmer Boggis having a black tractor is racist have obviously been kept well away from it. There are plenty of one-liners which aren’t at all PC, but the audience in the cinema was about 40% white and 60% British Asian and no-one was taking offence at any of it: everyone was laughing, together.
Kaz agrees to a marriage with Mahmouna, a girl in Lahore. This bit of the film didn’t actually work that well. The film emphasises that arranged marriages are now more “assisted” marriages, and that couples get to know each other and find out if they’re compatible before the marriage takes place, but, whilst we were told that Kaz and Mahmouna had spent loads of time talking on the phone and on Skype, we only saw one Skype meeting and it didn’t seem to go that well. However, the mehndi and wedding in Lahore were gorgeous and glamorous.
Then came the twist in the tale. Well, two twists in the tale. I won’t post spoilers, but this film really is well worth seeing.