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C. Jay Cox
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Alim is an Indo-Canadian man currently living in London, England, the move in order to get away from what he feels is his repressive life in Toronto under the watchful and critical eye of his widowed mother, Nuru. For Nuru and her equally competitive sister Dolly, the perfect public Muslim persona is the most important thing in life. Back in London, Alim is free to live openly as a homosexual, of which his mother is not aware. He is in a loving relationship with his live-in British boyfriend, Giles. To navigate through his complicated life, Alim uses the spirit of 'Cary Grant' as his confidante and advisor. Feeling like her life is missing a daughter-in-law as Dolly prepares for her son's "perfect" wedding, Nuru decides to reconnect with Alim in London. Not yet ready to tell his mother of either Giles or his homosexual orientation, Alim, with Giles' support, hides any aspect of this fact for Nuru's visit. But as Giles is tested one turn after another during Nuru's visit, both Alim and... Written by
I noticed the DVD of TOUCH OF PINK at my local Tower store and decided to rent it. Home yesterday with a bad head cold, I popped it into the DVD machine and lost the next hour and 40 minutes to a movie of subtle charm and lovely sentiment.
Alim (Jimi Mistry) is a still photographer working on movie sets in in London where he lives with his lover, Giles (Kristen Hodlen-Reid). A huge fan of vintage movies, Alim has created an imaginary best friend, in the form of Cary Grant (Kyle MacLachlan), who is always at hand to give him advice on what clothing to wear and how to wear them, often helping him out of awkward social situations. Alim is a bit dreary, and at first you think he certainly doesn't deserve the long- suffering Giles, who after a long series of sexual conquests, has finally settled down into domestic bliss with Alim and is very much in love with him.
Meanwhile Alim's mother, Nuru, is unhappily living in Toronto in the shadow of her social climbing sister, Dolly (Veena Sood). Dolly is gleefully spending a great deal of her successful husband's fortune on the upcoming marriage of her only son. Nuru is one of those unfortunate malcontents who never checks her feelings before saying something rude and mean-spirited, and for this bad habit, she's rather disliked by her sister's catty social circle. Depressed with all the attention her sister is receiving, Nuru decides to jump on a plane and visit her son in London. The only problem is she doesn't know he's gay.
Once in London, Nuru's rudeness is aimed at Giles. She is wildly insensitive to her son's life and home, and in general clueless about his life. Giles works hard to break down the barriers and succeeds, taking Nuru out for a day in London, where she has a wonderful time. But in short order, she is startled to find out that Alim and Giles are lovers and she angrily flees back to Toronto, leaving her son miserable and bad-tempered. Giles tries very hard to cheer Alim. Caught up in her own depression, Nuru is nearly catatonic upon coming home. Dolly knows something is wrong, but Nuru won't talk about it.
About the only person who can comfort Alim is Cary Grant. As Alim and Giles relationship continues to tank, Alim decides to go home for the wedding of his cousin. And then Giles turns up in Toronto with all the attendant comic possibilities implied.
I'm surprised at some of the cynical comments about this sweet and gentle comedy of clashing cultures. There's nothing laugh-out-loud funny in this film, which is fine with me. It certainly is a lovely film about reconciliation and acceptance. Nuru is one of the most annoying mothers I've encountered in the movies. She's beautiful and still young, and yet she's so caught up in her culture of getting married to a successful person. Any prospective son or daughter-in-law will have their work cut out for them with this mother-in-law. But when Giles takes her out for the day, she melts and her defenses disappear. The walls come back up in short order, but again fade in the final moments. Giles is certainly a dream lover, but his essential goodness never descends into sainthood. Alim is a bit of a drudge, and he's certainly not very sure of himself. But he's got Cary Grant to keep an eye out for him, and who could ask for anything more? Kyle MacLachlan is wonderfully assured, never overdoing his affectionate impression of the movie legend, delivering his lines effortlessly.
Director Ian Iqbal Rashid steers his fine cast through the thickets of this social comedy with assurance and restraint. I found myself beaming idiotically through this adorable comedy of manners. Resist it not.
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