What's Love Got to Do with It?
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 48m
Director(s): Shekhar Kapur
Writer(s): Jemima Khan
Cast: Lily James, Shazad Latif, Shabana Azmi, Emma Thompson, Sajal Aly
Where To Watch: in theaters nationwide May 5, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: In the romantic comedy WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?, Lily James portrays Zoe, an ambitious documentary filmmaker in London who is searching for a new project to work on. She discovers the concept of "assisted marriages" in modern-day multicultural Britain, which sparks her curiosity, and she then reconnects with her childhood friend Kaz, played by Shazad Latif. Recently, he decided to entrust his parents with the responsibility of arranging his future marriage.
Zoe attempts to capture this process on film, interviewing numerous couples who have experienced assisted marriages, thus providing a fresh perspective on relationships that foster love over time rather than starting with it. During the story, Kaz meets Maymouna, a law student from Pakistan, portrayed by Sajal Aly, and everything quickly changes!
Parallel to these events, Zoe faces her romantic dilemmas and wrestles with questions about commitment. Her mother, Cath, played by Emma Thompson, tries to set her up with her veterinarian, James (Oliver Chris), leading to more chaos. The film follows Zoe as she grapples with the complex nature of love and commitment. The battles that Zoe and Kaz face in the movie give it more impact than otherwise, and these hurdles and lessons keep the audience interested in the outcome.
Under the direction of Shekhar Kapur, this delightful romantic comedy delves into themes of love, intimacy, and cultural differences. The characters are well-developed, and the acting is enjoyable. It sometimes falls back on typical romantic comedy tropes, undermining the deeper exploration of cultural and generational conflicts. Its predictability ultimately downfall is its biggest downfall.
The script, penned by Jemima Khan, blends cultural and ethnic elements to breathe new life into the romantic comedy genre. Ironically, this romantic comedy is more powerful when the story separates the leads than when they’re together. Seeing the characters grow and evolve through the story makes them more intriguing as individuals. The plot gives us more insight into the challenges of love and relationships across diverse cultures.
In conclusion, WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? offers a mix of classic British romantic comedies by addressing contemporary social issues. While it sometimes relies on genre clichés, the film delivers an entertaining and enlightening story. With solid performances for the most part and an engaging script, even when predictable, this film still offers its viewers something of substance to enjoy.
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