What’s love got do do with it? – REVIEW

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All couples go through their ups and down none more so than our Editor always telling his wife that, ‘there’s plenty more fish in the sea!’ only for her to smartly quip back, ‘There’s better bait too!’ What’s Love Got to Do With it? is a return to big screen rom-coms that Richard Curtis really made his own and frankly is also to blame for with all the pale imitations that have followed in the decades since Four Weddings and a Funeral. The spin on this rom-com is that of different cultural backgrounds with Zoe (Lily James) a white British documentary film maker having grown up in her mum’s house living next door to a first generation British-Pakistani Hazim (Shazad Latif).

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Whilst Zoe’s dating history careers from failure to failure despite the best intentions of her mother (Emma Thompson doing her potty mum act) Hazim is content for an arranged marriage as set up by his own parents.  Zoe’s attempt to understand why anyone would go through with what she regards as an antiquated and oppressive ritual is regarded as an opportunity for her to record the precedings for the purpose of a documentary, one of many projects she pitches to a pair of hilariously daft producers, the sort who would take Alan Partridge’s ‘Monkey Tennis’ pitch seriously.

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Written by Jemima Khan, herself having married Imran Khan, there’s an insight into arranged marriages or ‘assisted marriages’ as she reminds the audiences and at a preview of the film she was keen to support the idea of such ritual but it’s no stretch of the imagination as to how this rom-com will play out which kind of undermines the idea that assisted marriages work. It’s inevitable how this will all end despite the potential suitors lined up for Zoe  and perhaps the best scene in the film is one where Hazim explains his experience of and  difference between being British and British born. The film certainly has a positive portrayal of Muslim families and Hazim’s parents are sympathetic and wholly relatable. Lily James has a bit more to do here than other films have allowed her to do although for a documentary film maker character, her camera work is terrible.

we chat to actress Claire Rushbrook about the mixed race romantic drama, ‘Ali & Ava’

What’s Love got to do with it? is directed by Shekhar Kapur best known for the Oscar winning Elizabeth (1998) with its epic sweep and scope and again he captures here the sweep of a large wedding but he is less assured with the light comedy which in fairness is as much to do with the script. This is formulaic that follows the rom-com template with the compulsory big emotional end beat but the film’s strength is the multicultural setting and Lily James is an engaging lead.

Jemima Khan & Naughty Boy introduce the film….

 

Here’s the What’s Love got to do with it? trailer

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