Polite Society review: fresh, fun, and surprising

Priya Kansara and Ritu Arya in Polite Society

Polite Society, written and directed by Nida Manzoor, is an absolute original. A group of Pakistanis in England want to arrange a marriage. A family wants to marry off their older daughter. Their younger daughter has many, many serious objections to the union. Her efforts to stop the marriage are clever, funny, and comedic.

Priya Kansara in Polite Society
I am the fury.

Polite Society stars Priya Kansara as the younger sister, Ria. Ria idolizes a stunt woman from the Marvel movies and practices her moves all the time. She puts her efforts up on YouTube and sends many never answered emails to her idol. She dreams of being a stuntwoman. She falls flat in her effort to execute a flying spiral of a kick, but she keeps trying.

The older sister, Lena (Ritu Arya), is almost as good as Ria at stunts. Her dream was to be an artist. She just dropped out of art school. She’s convinced she isn’t good enough to be an artist. When her parents find her a handsome doctor to marry, she doesn’t object.

Ria objects. Strongly. At first her reasons are purely selfish but as the plot develops we see that it would actually be a terrible mistake for Lena to marry Salim (Akshay Khanna), the handsome gynecologist.

Seraphina Beh and Ella Bruccoleri in Polite Society

Ria’s school friends Alba (Ella Bruccoleri) and Clara (Seraphina Beh) support her crazy schemes to end the engagement and save Lena from marriage. The hilarious antics this group get up to as they try to save Lena make up the majority of the movie. Ria’s school nemisis Kovacs (Shona Babayemi) gets in on the action, too.

The parents of the future bride and groom are terrific. Raheela (Nimra Bucha), Salim’s mother, is especially interesting.

Everything about this movie is fun and fraught and surprising. I found it charming and totally enjoyable. It’s about the bonds of sisterhood and the demands of tradition. Other thematic bits are unexpected but perfect. There are funny fight scenes, funny dance scenes, funny used condom scenes, and funny car rides.

The film is out of theaters and available on Prime Video now. If you watch it, please share your reactions. I sincerely hope you enjoy it if you watch it!

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