The film follows a documentary film maker Zoe, played by Lily James, who decides to shoot a document about her childhood best friend Kaz, played by Shazad Latif, who chooses to find a wife through arranged marriage – or as he calls it ‘assisted marriage’.
Zoe is a strong heroine that is more ‘focused on glass ceilings rather than glass slippers,’ as Lily James describes her own character in the film. She is independent yet she is still vulnerable and is sometimes herself trapped in the whirlpool of love. She tells her own love story (and its mishaps) through comparison to nearly every fairy-tale princess out there, always tailoring it to suit her own circumstance.
As Zoe makes her documentary in the film, the film itself has some attributes of a documentary. In that every conversation the characters have seems very real, balanced and natural, oftentimes filled with humoured banter. This way, it makes for a joyful ride through the whole of the film.
The plot of the film seems to be rolling out slow, as Zoe follows Kaz’s journey to find his wife, yet the audience could hardly be bored. This is most likely attributed to the execution of the cinematography. The pace between individual shots is very quick as the camera switches from one character to another in separate scenes, and can seem even too hasty at times, but it makes for an engaging outcome.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the film’s outlook on love. Walking into the cinema, I thought I am in for a classic romance movie, but I was quickly surprised to find more than just that. The film’s main focus is love, yes, however the tale of love was told through many spectrums. Other than romantic love, the love of family and friends was heavily present through the entirety of the film. And the bond of love in the end overcame hardships like time, alienation, religion, race, mistakes and differences of opinion.
The portrayal of each characters was also brilliantly done. Lily James was a wonder to watch, although I might be slightly biased, as I am a fan of hers. Shazad Latif delivered a great performance as well. And Emma Thompson was simply a delight. Her character was mostly making a fool out of herself throughout the whole movie, yet it often came across as a nice comedic relief amidst the problems of the heart going on in the background.
To put it simply, I have fully enjoyed this movie and if I were to sum it up in three words, it would be these: refreshing, real and emotional.