Polite Society movie review (2023)
“Nida Manzoor’s ‘Polite Society’ is a riotously funny and action-packed film that defies categorization. This bold feature debut blends well-choreographed high kicks and punches with a powerful exploration of supportive sisters and a critique of cultural, generational, and gendered expectations.
Drawing inspiration from the styles of Edgar Wright, ‘Bend It Like Beckham,’ ‘Little Women,’ and Jane Austen heroines, ‘Polite Society’ offers an unforgettable cinematic experience.”
Unbreakable Bonds: The Power of Sisterhood
Meet Ria (Priya Kansara), a teenager with dreams of becoming a stuntwoman.
Ria’s close friends Clara (Seraphina Beh) and Alba (Ella Bruccoleri) form an important support system.Enter Lena (Ritu Arya), Ria’s older sister, who understands and supports her like no one else.
Lena assists Ria in honing her fighting persona, creating YouTube videos, and cheering her on.Their close-knit relationship becomes the anchor of Ria’s life, until Lena meets Salim (Akshay Khanna), a wealthy suitor.
Love, Suspicion, and Dark Intentions
Ria grows suspicious of Salim’s family and their intentions for Lena.
Confirming her suspicions, Ria embarks on a mission to save her sister from a potentially disastrous wedding.Ria’s determination to protect Lena showcases the film’s underlying themes of familial love and sacrifice.
Nida Manzoor’s Signature Style
Manzoor’s breakout series “We Are Lady Parts” highlights her comedic style and whip-fast editing.Collaborators from the series, including editor Robbie Morrison and costume designer PC Williams, join “Polite Society.”
Williams’ attention to detail amplifies the visual aesthetics, action sequences, and comedic elements.Cinematographer Ashley Conner captures the vibrant whirls of fabrics and enhances the film’s emotional journey.
Subverting Expectations: Cultural, Generational, and Gendered Critiques
Ria’s aspirations challenge her parents’ expectations, reflecting the struggles faced by immigrant children.Ria’s clashes with her parents explore the complexities of cultural identity and parental pressures.
Salim’s deceptive charm serves as a critique of superficial appearances and dating app illusions.Raheela (Nimra Bucha), the mother-in-law-to-be, embodies narrow-minded prejudices and attempts to control Ria.
Celebrating Sisterly Love and Defiance
“Polite Society” transcends conventional genre boundaries, focusing more on sisterly love than romance or action.Ria’s fight to liberate her sister becomes a symbolic overthrow of outdated prejudices.
Manzoor’s unique sensibility and irreverent humor shine through, creating an exhilarating cinematic experience.Priya Kansara’s energetic performance matches Manzoor’s sharp dialogue and irreverent humor.
The Art of Escapism: Action, Comedy, and Heists
“Polite Society” masterfully blends elements of action, comedy, and heist genres.The film’s well-choreographed fight sequences and comedic timing pay homage to filmmakers like Edgar Wright.
Manzoor’s knack for creating high-energy, fast-paced scenes keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.The heist elements inject an exciting layer of intrigue and suspense into the narrative, adding depth to the story.
Embracing Cross-Cultural Commentary
Drawing inspiration from the cross-cultural themes of “Bend It Like Beckham,” “Polite Society” explores the complexities of identity.
Ria’s South Asian heritage informs her struggles with cultural expectations and traditional gender roles.Manzoor adeptly weaves these cultural elements into the fabric of the story, enriching the characters’ journeys.
The Sibling Dynamic: A Tale of Support and Growth
“Polite Society” draws parallels to the beloved sisterly bond portrayed in “Little Women.”
Ria and Lena’s relationship evolves throughout the film, showcasing the growth and resilience of sisterhood.Manzoor captures the nuances of sibling dynamics, highlighting the ups and downs, conflicts, and unwavering support.
“Nida Manzoor’s ‘Polite Society’ breaks new ground as a genre-defying action comedy that celebrates sisterhood and challenges societal expectations. With its mix of high-energy action, witty dialogue, and cross-cultural commentary, the film establishes Manzoor’s distinctive voice and showcases Priya Kansara’s impressive debut performance. As Ria fights to be herself and save her sister, audiences are taken on a thrilling journey that defies conventions and leaves them cheering for the power of love and self-determination.
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