This brilliant film is so funny that it had me in tears of laughter. Yet seconds after its funniest moment it has one of the most powerful and moving scenes I've ever seen on film.
This movie is all the more remarkable because it was made by two women who had essentially zero financial backing, and who had to beg, borrow or steal everything it took to make the movie. And Nisha Ganatra - the director, co-writer, and leading actor - had no previous film experience.
The story steps outside the box. Yes, it's about lesbians and it's about the sometimes uneasy mix of cultures that results from immigration, but most lesbian movies are coming-out stories, and most culture clash movies focus on the tribulations of immigrants adjusting to their new culture. This movie focuses on second-generation women caught between the traditions, practices, and world views of their Indians family and their American friends - and the coming-out part is more or less only a sidebar to the main story.
Most fundamentally, this is a story about two sisters, the desire of one to help the other after her sister suffers a major loss - and the havoc that her sometimes clumsy actions (and the mistaken assumptions her family makes about her and her actions) wreak in the lives of everyone close to them.
Ultimately it's a story about growth and change, but it steps outside the Hollywood box in another way. Unlike almost all traditional films, not only the central character but everyone around her also goes through a process of growth and change.
I loved the acting as well. Jill Hennessy is gorgeous and wonderful to watch - and her sultry voice makes listening to her a joy as well. Sakina and Madhur Jaffrey are both delightful, and Nisha Ganatra is extremely convincing as a shy, sweet, introverted and perhaps naive young woman with a generous heart.
Unlike the typical Hollywood blockbuster, watching these women made me feel like I was just hanging out with some friends - which in my mind is a sure sign of pure artistry. Nisha's performance is all the more remarkable considering she never intended to act in the movie and stepped in only at the last moment when she lost her leading lady.
This film is a remarkable achievement, and a marvelous experience.
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