What does love have to do with it? movie review: ‘A romantic-comedy movie with a hint of masala’

This article contains spoilers for the 2023 movie What does love have to do with it?

what Love What to do with it? takes me back to the days of early 2000s romantic comedies, with a little masala to spice things up.

The delightfully eerie film follows Kaz (played by Shazad Latif), a 32-year-old doctor ready to settle down, who is followed by documentary filmmaker Zoe (played by Lily James), who his childhood neighbour, who chronicles his journey from London to Lahore to marry a stranger arranged by his parents. marry.

I found the movie directed by Shekhar Kapur and written by Jemima Khan, very authentic, especially when it comes to desi culture, such as Kaz’s father describing his wife as “master” and “first-rate” on their wedding day – a phrase that any desi child will also hear it growing up – and even alludes to the constant blackout raging in South Asia.

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Shazad Latif and Lily James in What's Love Got To Do With It.
Shazad Latif and Lily James in What’s Love Got To Do With It? (Robert Viglasky)

They’ve also done a great job in showcasing the homely beauty of Pakistan, with Anarkaali Market, the “galis” that happens to be inhabited by famous Qawwali singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and even the usual streets All bring back memories of the homeland.

I also love the playful commentary that Kaz will put into every shot, serving as the voice of the immigrant kid’s reason, especially during the chaos of the wedding preparations. .

His insistence on “ratting” with the person he spends his life with (which his father hilariously turns into “rat and collect”) leads to his failure at the matchmaker’s office, cheating dropping his claim of just one person – “someone who could bear my parents” – Latif delivered consistent humor, as well as delivering those powerfully emotional moments in one act. performance encapsulates the experience of a child from a third culture.

But the film had its shortcomings.

First of all, the tempo is Therefore weird. The first season of the film is accelerated with an attempt to condense the concept of arranged marriage – albeit humorously done, with Kaz even describing it as “Halal Tinder”.

But I have a feeling this is done to showcase the festivities of a real desi wedding, which will most likely appeal to foreign audiences who haven’t seen it before. Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful wedding scene, but this part seemed oddly stretched when we could have focused more on the emotional parts of the movie, where we can take a step toward discovering its culture and even some of its toxic parts.

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Shazad Latif and Lily James in What's Love Got To Do With It?
Zoe follows Kaz to document his arranged marriage in this emotional new film. (STUDIOCANAL)

I would love to see Kaz grapple with his wife’s divorce soon after they get married, then apply that newfound perspective to family reunification with his sister.

I would love to see the reunion between his own brother and sister, as he led himself into an arranged marriage he didn’t really want just to appease his elders, all for the sake of it. Honor the difference with his betraying sister who prioritizes his love over duty.

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And my last concern with the movie… why always white woman?

It’s a phenomenon you see in almost every South Asian romance – brown boys will always put their brown tantrums aside and end up risking it all for the woman. White skin. The Big Sick, Master of Nonepretty much every Mindy Kaling series – all with a brown protagonist yearning for a white love.

While there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s a clear pattern in the South Asian diaspora media that makes brown women – both in the film and in the audience – feel unwanted. , unloved and cast aside, even to ourselves.

However, What does love have to do with it leaves me feeling fuzzy inside while allowing me to fully immerse myself in the experience of seeing my culture represented on the big screen, which is (unfortunately) something I can’t say I watch often.

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