Two childhood friends cultures and attitudes take their love lives in very different directions. Documentary film maker Zoe (Lilly James) a habitual dating app user has had nothing but let downs and failures. Her mother Cath (Emma Thompson) hounds her for being unable to hold down a relationship. She is endlessly trying to set her up on dates.
Then there’s doctor Kazim (Shazad Latif) who takes the traditional route of an arranged marriage to the shy, somewhat reluctant Pakistani beauty Maymouna (Sajal Ali).
Zoe decides this would be the perfect subject for her next film and follows the couples meet and eventual marriage. She documents the family in London and in Lahore, Pakistan where the wonderfully colorful wedding takes place.
Most of what’s good about this is the two lead performances, Lily James has played some complex characters including Pamela Anderson. In this however she is perfect as a regular young Londoner trying to figure out love and life.
Shazad Latif is compelling as Kazim, as he decides to take his parents guidance and enter an arranged marriage. When a young, successful good looking man could have many options in a modern dating world, his arguments are convincing.
Where the story becomes slightly muddled is most of the film is a strong argument from Kazim about what is love anyway? He even quotes facts about the 50% divorce rate of western marriages compared to the 1% divorce rate of arranged marriage. So in typical Rom-Com fashion love is over romanticized and takes precedent in the film even after Kazim’s arguments.
There is even another example of this with Kazim’s sister Jamila (Mariam Haque) who marries a white man, she is ignored for most of the film but eventually excepted by even the most traditionalist of the family in the grandmother.
Ultimately this is a sweet if predictable film, with good directing and great performances from the two leads. The cast as a whole is solid there are no weak links. The film is warm, it’s an enjoyable two hours.
What’s Love Got to Do with It? Is in theaters today in US. UK viewers can Rent or Buy on Digital.