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What's Love Got To Do With It?- Film Review

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by Jen (subscribe)
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Published January 23rd 2023
A cross-cultural romantic comedy
what's love got to do with it? film review, cinema, night life, date night, entertainment, fun things to do, performing arts, actors, studio canal, movie review
Images Instinct Productions, StudioCanal, Working Title Films

What's Love Got To Do With It? is a winner in so many ways. It's interestingly cross-cultural, appealing to a multicultural audience the world over. And who doesn't love a rom-com! This one has a lot of heart, and surprisingly, you may well find yourself in a puddle of tears as well. Starring the gorgeously talented Lily James whom I adored in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (yes, quite a mouthful) and Shazed Latif, a British actor who starred as Tariq Masood in the BBC TV series Spooks, the film was directed by Shekhar Kapur and produced and written by Jemima Khan.

Zoe (Lily James) is a documentary filmmaker living in London, in search of her next project. Her pitch to a couple of disinterested execs fell flat till she snatched an idea out of the blue, from a recent meeting with her childhood friend and neighbour Kaz (Shazad Latif), who had told her he was going traditional with an 'assisted marriage'. The theme of examining a different approach to finding love in modern multi-cultural Britain by a professional man of today won the vote, and left Zoe now having to approach Kaz and convince him to have her follow him around, documenting his journey.

The film also stars the irrepressible Emma Thompson as Zoe's eccentric mother Cath, Asim Chaudhry as Mo the Matchmaker, and Oliver Chris as James the Vet whom Cath nudges towards her dating app addicted daughter who has met an endless stream of Mr Wrongs. Things progress very quickly for Kaz who soon finds himself heading towards marriage to a bright and beautiful bride, a law student from Pakistan. Within a matter of weeks Kaz and Maymouna (Sajal Aly) are engaged and the wedding set for Lahore.

A wonderful movie that takes you on a journey of heartfelt experiences that captures every sentiment in a magical way. It has the right balance of laughter, joy, tears and love, with surprising moments thrown in. Is it better to fall into like and walk into love? Come along and be open to cultural differences that give this rom-com a refreshing slant. Plus it's a delight to see Emma Thompson steal every scene she's in, in this amusing charmer with emotional heft.

If you watched Channel 10's The Sunday Project on Sunday 22 Jan 2023 as I did, you would have seen What's Love Got to Do With It? producer and writer Jemima Khan on the show, talking about the film. Ex-wife of 90s cricket god and future PM of Pakistan Imran Khan at the age of 21, she was in Pakistan for 10 years and was able to see first hand how the belief that love comes later, worked. Jemima mentions her experience in Pakistan helped give birth to the film which showed Pakistan in a colourful joyous light outside the darkness of politics. A bit of the Pakistan that she grew to love.

For someone who did the complete opposite by her own admission, she believes we have something to learn. Living with her conservative husband, father, sister, their husbands and kids, there were at least 20 of them living in the same home and Jemima was able to see up close how happy and successful assisted marriages could be. It became a point of conversation amongst her friends who had settled down with kids as they talked about the belief that love comes at the end, not the beginning - a completely different point of view. Jemima quips with humour, it would have saved her a lot of heartache and headache. Her own marriage was the only love marriage in her ex-husband's family history, and the only divorce.

Here's a bit of trivia from Jemima's lips on The Sunday Project. Two days before the film was due to start shooting, the original grandmother in the film dropped out. He family did not want to take the risk with Covid rife at the time. Without letting StudioCanal know, Jemima sent out an email to cast members, asking them if they knew of anyone who could play the role of the grandmother. Comedian and actor Jeff Mirza who plays Kaz's father in the film replied and sent Jemima a random film clip of a woman singing, who had never acted before.

Desperation or not, it turns out 82 year old Pakiza Baig was perfect as the grandmother, and as Jemima later found out, was Mirza's very own mother. Follow the link to find out more. This event was Jemima's first time in Australia she said on Ch 10, as she battled a real terror for flying after her experience in the past when a British Airways flight she was on with her two children was hijacked by a man intent on suicide crashing the plane. What saved them was a pilot who had watched a National Geographic documentary the night before, and was telling his son that the eye of the shark was the weakest point to go for. The hijacker with the strength of the insane in Jemima's own words could not be removed from the cockpit, so the pilot gouged his eye out and pulled him up by the eyeball, getting his own thumb and ear bitten off in the process. A traumatic but successful end result, much like the film, but without the trauma.

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Why? What's Love Got To Do With It? - film review
When: In Cinemas 26 Jan 2023
Where: In Cinemas
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