Polite Society (2023)
April 23, 2023 1:44 PM - Subscribe

The feature film debut from writer-director Nida Manzoor (We Are Lady Parts) is a merry mash-up of sisterly affection, parental disappointment, and bold action. Ria Khan (Priya Kansara, Bridgerton) practices martial arts in order to become a stuntwoman. But when her sister Lena (Ritu Arya, The Umbrella Academy) drops out of art school and suddenly gets engaged, Ria decides she and her friends must pull off a wedding-heist.

Also starring Nimra Bucha, Shobu Kapoor, Ella Bruccoleri, Seraphina Beh, Shona Babayemi, Jeff Mirza, Akshaye Khanna, Renu Brindle, Rekha John-Cheriyan, Sally Ann, Jenny Funnell, Sona Babayeva, Sophie Aisling, Su McLaughlin, Tia Dutt, Eunice Huthart.

Written & directed by Nida Manzoor. Cinematography by Ashley Connor. Edited by Robbie Morrison. Music by Tome Howe, Shez Manzoor.

94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Now in selected cinemas. Opens wide on Friday. JustWatch listing for future reference.
posted by DirtyOldTown (22 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Trailer

This is the rare film that I would recommend to essentially everyone on MetaFilter. It's wall-to-wall fun. Manzoor has already proven a delightful and distinct voice with her TV work, but this steps her game up to the big screen with real personality. Manzoor is one of those rare filmmakers who you feel like is showing you a detailed look into their brain with their film. It's so idiosyncratic and alive.

Sincerely, this is going to be an across the board hit with our set.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:47 PM on April 23, 2023 [6 favorites]


Saw the trailer recently, it looked very appealing.
posted by praemunire at 10:39 PM on April 23, 2023


There's an interview with Priya Kansara and Ritu Arya in the Guardian. (The headline is "Haven’t we all wanted to kick an aunty at one point?")
In 2017, actor Riz Ahmed made a speech about diversity in the House of Commons. It proved inspirational. In its wake, author and former English teacher Dr Sadia Habib and data analyst Shaf Choudry created the Riz test, a criterion to measure Muslim representation on screen that applies similar principles to the Bechdel test, which assesses female representation on film. If the film stars at least one identifiably Muslim character (by ethnicity, language or clothing) do they discuss, participate in or fall victim to terrorism? Are they irrationally angry? Are they superstitious, culturally backwards or anti-modern? Are they a threat to a western way of life or misogynistic or oppressed by male counterparts? If the answer for any of the above is “Yes”, the film fails the test.
posted by trig at 3:39 AM on April 24, 2023 [3 favorites]


fun fun fun

thx, DoT
posted by elkevelvet at 7:21 AM on April 25, 2023 [1 favorite]


I can’t wait! Ritu Arya also played Saira in the short film Comedy Blaps version of Manzoor’s We Are Lady Parts. (NSFW language)
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 2:26 PM on April 26, 2023


I just came home from a screening. It is indeed as DOT has advertised.

Even better, in my particular screening: some guy had brought his eleven-year-old daughter and she was completely losing her very last shit throughout, and that just added to the fun. (Especially when there was a scene involving a character wanting to frame another character for misbehavior, and spent several seconds filling up condoms with lotion; a couple seconds into this, suddenly the girl's voice rang out: "....Dad, I don't get it.")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:08 PM on April 27, 2023 [9 favorites]


I've been sick all week, or I would've gone tonight. Really looking forward to watching this and Chevalier this weekend if I'm mobile again.
posted by praemunire at 9:00 PM on April 27, 2023


Very fun to look at, and sweet. Went a bit creepier than I was expecting, though!
posted by praemunire at 9:20 PM on April 28, 2023 [1 favorite]


Saw a matinee today - very fun! I liked how long Manzoor kept up the ambiguity about whether there was actually anything sketchy afoot.

The sisterly chemistry was great and I liked Ria's friends as well. The gym laptop op was a highlight.

I wish Ria could have plausibly been wearing the green and gold dress for all the fight scenes. So pretty swirling around for the kicks.
posted by the primroses were over at 1:11 PM on April 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


I wish Ria could have plausibly been wearing the green and gold dress for all the fight scenes. So pretty swirling around for the kicks.

I don't know anything about Indian action films, so I don't know if this is just a common trope I'm unfamiliar with (certainly there have been any number of U.S. actioners featuring female heroes fighting in formal dress), but it was delightful to see.
posted by praemunire at 3:03 PM on April 29, 2023


We just saw it, so great. At first I thought my favorite part was the "spa women change into henchmen", but in retrospect I really really liked the scene of Ria and Lena dancing while there mother talks about them with the group of women, short as it was.
posted by Gorgik at 5:22 PM on April 29, 2023 [3 favorites]


Oh, I also greatly enjoyed the exchange between Ria's friends about an idea being tropey with the rejoiner that "tropes are tropes because they work." Heh, break that 4th wall to address the haters head on.

I liked this interview Nida Manzoor did with NPR's Ailsa Chang (transcript at link):
There's just something about being a teenage girl - and even a teenager, which is so - the feelings are heightened. The emotions are big. You're finding your friends. You're finding your voice, your place in the world. There are all these really small violences that you're feeling. And I just felt the action genre is the perfect tool to externalize those small violences we felt growing up.
It also has some great insight into why Manzoor wrote the Khan parents the way she did. Recommend the whole interview.
posted by the primroses were over at 5:38 AM on April 30, 2023 [8 favorites]


Thanks for the link! The Khan parents had a "we're going to let you do this but we don't really quite believe in or understand it" vibe that I think translates across a lot of parental contexts, not just immigrant ones. I thought it made a lot of sense in nuancing the story. While comfortable enough, Mrs. Khan is clearly lower in status in her community than Salim's mom and knows it and down deep doesn't really feel great about it, and I think there's something in her that doesn't want to see the rest of her family reduced to instrumental status for Salim's. Hence the clobbering of Salim's mom at the end.
posted by praemunire at 12:00 PM on April 30, 2023 [1 favorite]


data analyst Shaf Choudry created the Riz test, a criterion to measure Muslim representation on screen that applies similar principles to the Bechdel test...If the film stars at least one identifiably Muslim character do they discuss, participate in or fall victim to terrorism?

I really like this, but...does that mean this film fails the Riz test? It's not traditional terrorism, but it sure feels like the Shahs were up to something akin to that?
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:57 AM on May 1, 2023


It's not traditional terrorism, but it sure feels like the Shahs were up to something akin to that?

Nah, the Shahs were doing a Crazy Egotistical Rich Person thing. Terrorism advertises what it does, they were keeping things on the down low.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:32 AM on May 1, 2023 [5 favorites]


Also, that was some pure uncut Reproductive Labor Capitalism right there.
posted by praemunire at 10:38 AM on May 1, 2023 [2 favorites]


DoT, this movie hadn't been on my radar at all until I saw your comment about it. I invited some friends to watch, and 12 of us ended up getting tickets for it! our showtime's tonight :)
posted by estlin at 11:22 AM on May 2, 2023 [3 favorites]


Saw this on streaming and really enjoyed it. Not generally a big action movie fan, but there’s a renaissance of movies and shows getting really creative both to justify multiple fight scenes and the choreography of the fight scenes themselves. Truly as much a dance as a fight.
posted by rikschell at 1:28 PM on June 24, 2023 [1 favorite]


I saw this a couple weeks ago, having seen the trailer, and I was not prepared either for how bonkers it got or how consistently great it was. In particular the friends (including the bully) and the perfectly-structured character whiplash of the fiance depending on whether he thought he was alone with his mother or not were absolutely flawless. I'm going to need to watch it at least once more knowing the ending, but man it's so good.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:20 AM on June 30, 2023 [2 favorites]


I loved this on multiple levels. It’s fun and witty and completely delightful. That scene at the end with the sisters screaming “brunch”.

And also … like … the villains LITERALLY REDUCED A WOMAN TO HER WOMB. She meant *nothing* to them beyond her ability to carry a child. Without her consent and possibly without her knowledge.
posted by bunderful at 7:26 PM on August 13, 2023 [1 favorite]


And also … like … the villains LITERALLY REDUCED A WOMAN TO HER WOMB.

“Get me that womb” as they fled from the wedding!

Finally watched this and omg so fun!
posted by ellieBOA at 12:52 PM on October 17, 2023 [2 favorites]


I've now watched it twice, and it was just so fun both times. The second time I could really appreciate how the movie treats Ria's concerns. And the style of it!
posted by brainwane at 5:40 PM on November 28, 2023 [1 favorite]


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