What's Love Got to Do With It? Review

Friday 24 February 2023

Plot: In London, an award-winning film-maker documents her best friend's journey into an assisted marriage in line with his family's Pakistani heritage. In the process, she challenges her own attitude towards relationships.

Film: What's Love Got to Do With It? 

Director: Shekhar Kapur

Writer: Jemima Khan

Starring: Lily James, Shazad Latif, Emma Thompson

What’s Love Got To Do With It? Follows the story of Kaz (Shazad Latif) and Zoe (Lily James) who grew up next door to one another, but in completely different worlds. Kaz is a practicing Muslim and has decided to enter an arranged (assisted) marriage, to a girl in Pakistan, with the help of his parents. Zoe is baffled by this decision and decides to make a documentary, following Kaz through the process. 

I think the story relied on the audience assuming the leads had feelings for one another, just because they were starting opposite one another in a rom-com. Throughout the film it’s never really implied that there is anything between the two, maybe the occasional second glance as they are both conventionally attractive. We know that Zoe isn’t short of male attention, and I thought maybe they were alluding to her being keen to take partners because she can’t have the man she wants, but it isn’t until much later that she seems to have the ‘oh, it’s you’ moment. Similarly, with Kaz, he doesn’t seem to really see Zoe in a romantic, and equally I assumed this was because she was an English girl and he didn’t want to disappoint his family, but the two characters seem to be so good at hiding these true feelings that not even the audience can see the chemistry. 

Not to say there isn’t chemistry, by the end of the film it’s radiating off the screen but there felt like no build up. For a couple who have been friends since childhood, I expected to be invested in their love story from the start, but Lily is a career girl and seems all too happy to film the journey her friend takes in finding an assisted marriage, it doesn’t seem to pain her at all until the day before the wedding, which is a shame as the build-up and for lawn looks is half of the fun of any romantic film. 

The highlight of the film was Zoe’s mum (Emma Thompson) who is an overbearing matchmaker and spends the film interfering in Zoe’s love life and being very keen to get involved in Muslim traditions, with her next-door neighbours. It seems to be done sensitively with the character being played in a way that’s awkward and eager to learn, but I’m the wrong judge for that. 

All in all, not a bad rom com, something different and the kiss scene at the end of the film was very sweet, I would rewatch for that alone, but this wasn’t a film that’ll be talked about for years to come. 

Post a Comment

© The Northern Film Blog. Design by FCD.