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Polite Society (2023) Review

This is a review for the 2023 movie “Polite Society”. This action-comedy family drama puts us in the shoes of Ria Khan, a young wannabe stuntwoman, who is suspicious about her sister’s new fiancé. It gives us a very funny, stylistic adventure.

What is Polite Society about?

Polite Society centers around the relationship between sisters Ria (Priya Kansara) and Lena (Ritu Arya). They are close and share a dream of pursuing non-traditional careers. Lena wants to be an artist, and Ria aspires to be a stuntwoman. Lena meets Salim, a heart-throb, and decides to settle down. Ria becomes suspicious, but it’s unclear if it’s due to her fear of losing her sister or genuine concerns. Ria is determined to do whatever it takes to get what she wants.

The movie’s feminist messaging

Polite Society is an overtly feminist movie. Both Ria and Lena want to break the mould for what is expected of traditional Muslim women. However, Lena finds herself succumbing to society’s expectations for her – which puts Ria in an uncomfortable place. Can Lena be happy in a world where she replaces her artistic hobby with a traditional marriage? I will avoid spoilers, but the movie’s explicit answer to this is “no”.

When Lena is with Salim, she loses all confidence in herself. She clashes with her sister and changes her whole identity around a man. A man who, aside from anything else, is unwilling to change anything about himself for her. In one of the final fights of the movie, Lena and Ria literally find themselves confronted with some traditionally dressed women – yelling “shame!” at them. It couldn’t be more overt than that.

Polite Society (2023) Review

Polite Society is an extremely stylistic movie. The fight sequences are incredible, with the movie fully committing to the bit. Everything about this movie is completely over the top, it fully embraces the absurdity of the plot – taking itself just seriously enough to elevate the humour. From the very first set-piece, it’s clear that you’re in for an enjoyable ride.

Speaking of over the top, amongst an incredibly likeable cast – Nimra Bucha is the absolute stand-out. For most of the movie, she carefully treads the line between snooty, but average, woman and scenery-chewing Bond villain. She firmly settles into the latter in the final third of the movie and she is an absolute delight.

Stepping back from the action

The movie begins and ends strongly. In the middle, there are ups and downs, with some set-pieces being stronger than others. The movie shines when it embraces its absurdity, and there’s a long stretch without any fight sequences. These calm moments are crucial to heighten the storm, but sometimes it veers towards becoming a dull movie.

Apart from the action, the movie’s strength lies in the relationship between the main sisters. They share excellent on-screen chemistry. Similarly, Ria’s relationship with her friends is also enjoyable as they indulge in various antics to sabotage the marriage.

Who should watch Polite Society?

If you’re looking for a fun, enjoyable ride – but can’t stomach another soul-less Marvel movie, this movie is perfect for you. It’s an easy-to-digest comedy, with strong messaging and a strong relationship at the centre. You will, absolutely, find yourself shaking your head at the screen – muttering “I can’t believe this is actually happening”.

If you’re after a strong, serious drama without any frills, this isn’t what you’re looking for. Polite Society has a lot to say, along with a strong feminist message, but ultimately – this is a fun movie first.

This was a review for the 2023 movie “Polite Society”. Did you enjoy this movie or did it bring out your inner fury? Let us know in the comments below.

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