Posted on April 27, 2023 at 5:52 pmB +
|Lowest Recommended Age:||Mature High Schooler|
|MPAA Rating:||Rated PG-13 for strong language, violence, sexual material, and some partial nudity|
|Profanity:||Some strong language|
|Alcohol/ Drugs:||Character is drugged|
|Violence/ Scariness:||Extended martial arts action-style violence|
|Diversity Issues:||A theme of the movie|
|Date Released to Theaters:||April 28, 2023|
“Polite Society” is a delicious breath of fresh air, smart, funny, exciting, and utterly delectable, expertly blended by Nida Manzoor of the equally adorable “We Are Lady Parts.”
Priya Kansara plays Ria, a British teenager of Pakistani heritage who lives in London. Her parents are affectionate but worried about their daughters. Ria’s older sister Lena (Ritu Arya) has dropped out of art school and is depressed and at a loss about what to do next. But she is devoted to Ria and supportive of her unusual dream: she plans on being a stunt woman. She sends emails to her idol is (real-life) stunt woman Eunice Huthart (who briefly appears as herself). Lena helps by filming Ria for her YouTube channel. Ria also has two devoted friends (they share a classic handshake ritual), Clara (Seraphina Beh) and Alba (Ella Bruccoleri), who back her up when she is bullied by a classmate named Kovacs (Shona Babayemi).
Ria’s family is unexpectedly invited to a very fancy Eid party at the home of the wealthy Raheela (Nimra Bucha) and her son, Salim Shah (Akshay Khanna), a handsome doctor and the subject of a lot of attention from highly eligible young women. Even more unexpectedly, Salim asks Lena on a date, and just weeks later he proposes and she accepts.
Her parents are delighted. And Raheela welcomes Lena warmly. But Ria does not trust Salim and she is determined to do whatever it takes to break them up. This leads to a lot of “I Love Lucy”-style antics, some more effective than others, before a wild wedding that will make you wonder why all martial arts fights don’t feature gloriously swirling saris.
All of the performances are outstanding. Arya and Kansara are both absolutely wonderful and they have terrific chemistry that really makes us believe in their connection as sisters and best friends. I don’t want to give too much away, so I will just say that the person revealed to be the bad guy is also great. As with “We Are Lady Parts,” it is grounded in a very specific sense of the particulars of the Pakistani/British immigrant community and in universal themes of parents and children, sisters, friendships, and finding your way in the world, whether you know what your dreams are or worry you don’t know where you’re going. Manzoor mixes the genres with an expert touch. Keeping the heart of the film the relationship between the sisters makes the heightened moments, including the entertaining wire work in the fight scenes and the Grand Guignol of the plot twists, organic. The film’s understated title is a wink at the audience about the combination of Jane Austen and martial arts and the movie delivers with a story that is witty, exciting, and heartwarming.
Parents should know that this movie includes extended martial arts-style peril and violence, strong language, sexual references and situations, and some graphic medical imagery.
Family discussion: Why did Ria believe in Lena more than she believed in herself? Why didn’t she trust Salim? Was there something else Ria could have done to raise her concerns?
If you like this, try: “We Are Lady Parts,” “Fighting With My Family,” and “Bend it Like Beckham”