🎞️ When it’s out: In cinemas from Friday, April 28
⭐️ Our rating: 3/5
🎭 Who is there? Priya Kansara, Rita Arya, Akshay Khanna, Shobu Kapoor, Nimra Bucha, Jeff Mirza
👍 What we liked: A mix of full-kick and high-energy genres mixed with a lot of humor.
👎 What we didn’t do: A film of two halves, where the story loses its way and the humor loses its bite.
📖 What about it? A series of sisterly affection, parental disappointment and daring action, Polite Society follows stuntwoman Ria Khan who believes she must save her older sister Lena from her impending marriage. After enlisting the help of her friends, Ria tries to take down the most ambitious wedding gentlemen in the name of independence and sisterhood.
For her debut feature, Polite Society, director/writer Nida Manzoor (creator of We Are Lady Parts) has given us a melting pot of a film, one that mixes martial arts with Jane Austen and Bollywood and throws in themes of coming in age, superhero. movies and Bend It Like Beckham.
That’s just for starters. Her high-kicking, high-energy comedy brings girls to the fore, bucking the natural order of things their families see and sending them on a collision course with traditions rooted in the ways of the old country.
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It all starts smoothly, with a fast-moving and funny first half. The portrait of vivid fantasies and vivid ambitions of Ria (newcomer Priya Kansara) is on the button. She dreams of a career as a stuntwoman and, although her spirit and desire are miles ahead of her physical ability, the sense that she will achieve it is still there.
Watch a trailer for Polite Society
But she is also ambitious for her sister Lena (Umbrella Academy’s Rita Arya) to become an artist, even though her time at art college was cut short and she now lives at home. The two actors make the loving but bickering sisters very believable while enjoying the crazy script.
But halfway through, it all starts to go off the rails. It’s like Manzoor suddenly loses her way and flounder while trying to bring the story to a conclusion. The results are a radical change of direction, one that tries hard to hold on to the humor and pace of the first half but only partially succeeds.
And, out of nowhere, the storyline gets an unbelievable, suburban horror element that never quite lands. At that point, it’s up to the cast to keep things going and it’s the young actors who keep the smiles going when the laughs are almost gone.
Ambitious yet flawed, Polite Society is a film of two halves but also serves as a strong calling card for Manzoor, once again showcasing his talent for crisp, sharp-eyed writing and a confident directorial hand.
There’s no doubt she’ll be back and, frankly, we can’t wait.
What other critics thought of the Point Society
The Guardian: A fun action comedy that beats Jane Austen and the Chuckle Brothers (read 2 minutes)
Full Movie: A charm-bomb movie (read 4 minutes)
IndieWire: A hyper-creative punch to the gut of feminine expectations (read 4 minutes)