Monsoon Wedding

"Extraordinary"

Monsoon Wedding Review


Unlike most of my filmcritic.com colleagues, I don't live in New York or San Francisco, where the movie premieres are numerous. As a result, I'm often left to review less prominent releases. This means having to endure potentially soul-crushing endeavors, watching Soul Survivors and On The Line while the rest of the world doesn't fritter away perfectly good hours.

Then there are the times when I discover a gem, and my faith is absolutely restored. India native Mira Nair's award-winning Monsoon Wedding is such a treasure. It's funny, touching, dramatically forceful, and beautifully shot. It has some great songs. It offers a lingering and informative look at the Indian culture and its traditions. In fact, the more I describe its merits the further I drift into hyperbole.

Set in present day New Delhi, the plot deals with an array of family and friends as they prepare for a big wedding. The bride, Aditi (Vasundhara Das), goes through the motions of the pre-arranged marriage, but she can't keep herself away from her ex-boyfriend. However, most of the burdens lie with Aditi's parents, Lalit and Pimmi (Naseeruddin Shah and Lillete Dubey) who have more to worry about than just paying for the festivities. There's an adolescent son they can't agree on how to raise, a disturbing drop off in passion, and the unavoidable burden of getting older.

Then there are the guests. Among those prominently featured are a potential child molester who's also the bride's family's savior, a young man and woman who seem destined for romance but can't quite get their timing right, and the harried, single event planner who finds time to become infatuated with the family maid.

Nair, who helmed The Perez Family and Mississippi Masala, expertly handles what amounts to a two-hour plate spinning show. Despite some minor problems (the whole angle with the probable child molester is out of place and just plain creepy), Nair and screenwriter Sabrina Dhawan obviously care about the characters. We're allowed to see everyone's vulnerable side. When Lalit sobs in frustration on his wife's shoulders it matters because Nair and Dhawan take the time into making the characters more than just by-products of a sitcom predicament.

Aside from its dramatic prowess, Monsoon Wedding contains an unbridled intimacy and joy. Nair revels in the wedding traditions--the joyous songs, the colorful clothing, and the scenery. As corny as it sounds, there's so much warmth and honesty in Nair's direction that you almost feel as if you're really dancing and mingling with the other wedding guests.

With a riveting dramatic base, sympathetic characters and a love of her country's traditions, Nair eventually makes you part of the tight-knit clan she portrays. The best families, I feel, are able to have their love for each other outride all their other problems. Nair captures that theory on celluloid in a convincing and memorable fashion, and it's applied to a people that have been underrepresented in most movie houses. I'm hoping that Nair's great work helps to end that practice.

The DVD release of the film includes a making-of short and a commentary track from Nair.

Don't cry for me, India.



Monsoon Wedding

Facts and Figures

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 12th December 2001

Box Office USA: $13.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $30.8M

Distributed by: USA Films

Production compaines: Mirabai Films, Inc., Keyfilms Roma, Pandora Filmproduktion, Paradis Films, IFC Films, Mirabai Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 113 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Lalit Verma, as Pimmi Verma, as Parabatlal Kanhaiyalal 'P.K.' Dubey, Tillotama Shome as Alice, as Aditi Verma, as Hemant Rai, Sameer Arya as Vikram Mehta, as Ayesha Verma, Kemaya Kidwai as Aliya Verma, Ishaan Nair as Varun Verma, as Rahul Chadha, as Saroj Rai, as Mohan Rai, Shefali Shah as Ria Verma

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.