Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock is trapped into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father's business partner and then finds himself falling in love with her daughter, Elaine.
After breaking up with his childhood sweetheart, a young man finds solace in drugs. Meanwhile, a teenage girl is caught in the world of prostitution. Will they be destroyed, or will they find redemption?
A story set in the modern upper-middle class of India, where telecommunications and a western lifestyle mix with old traditions, like the arranged wedding young Aditi accepts when she ends the affair with a married TV producer. The groom is an Indian living in Texas, and all relatives from both families, some from distant places like Australia, come to New Delhi during the monsoon season to attend the wedding. The four-day arrangements and celebrations will see clumsy organization, family parties and drama, dangers to the happy end of the wedding, lots of music and even a new romance for the wedding planner Dubey with the housemaid Alice... Written by
Alessio F. Bragadini <email@example.com>
Irresistible Combination of Realism and Good Spirits
It's only March, but I already nominate "Monsoon Wedding" as one of the best movies of the year.
Yeah, we've seen ethnic weddings/family gatherings before ("Lovers and Other Strangers," "Wedding Banquet," "The Godfather," "Avalon," "What's Cooking," "Tortilla Soup," among others), but this is still an original.
Not just because it takes place in India, not just because the characters come in from the Indian diaspora of IT jobs in the U.S., Australia, and the Middle East to the old homestead, and switch between Hindi and English mid-sentence, and switch comfortably between tradition and modernity.
But because these are completely wholly-formed, original characters and a sophisticated story. Yeah I was confused sometimes about who's related to whom, but from the rebellious teen-age boy dreaming of being a chef, to the bride with a secret lover, to the Houston engineer come home for an arranged marriage, to the complicated intra-family obligations and past positive and negative interactions, to cousins, aunts and uncles who genuinely love each other -- all are fully realized and completely believable, being both very individual and very universal.
Only a smidgen of a coincidence in the last moments of a too neat happy ending for a very sympathetic character mars the story, but understandably the audience cheers at the end.
A bonus is the wonderful use of Indian music -- I have zero idea if it's folk or Bollywood music they're singing but the soundtrack is exotic and exuberant as the characters use it to liberate thoughts and feelings within the structure of wedding rituals, with dancing as well. Stay through the credits as the ritual continues.
I'm ready to go see it again any time I'm feeling down.
(originally written 3/11/2002)
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