Polite Society

Polite Society begins with a very cool montage of London. D. leaned over and said, “Where is this?” And I replied in a little louder than a whisper, “She just rode her bike into Shepard’s Bush Market.”  

I was walking the streets of London last Summer and there is an instant nostalgia at every turn. You feel as though if you just stand still long enough the buildings will invite you to tea and start regaling you with stories from Mozart to Lady Di.

One thing about Polite Society is that it’s a movie which Quentin Tarantino would approve of (both D. and I have added his great book, Cinema Speculation, to our collections). Polite Society is vibrant. Crackling with energy. It’s exuberant. It’s fun. In a world of simply staid movies it stands out.

A Pakistani-British fairy tale, it’s absurd in some aspects. Hyper-real, literary, graphical — all those things — but what keeps it tied to the audience is a fantastically grounded performance by Priya Kansara as aspiring stuntwoman Ria Khan. At one point, I felt such joy watching this performance and also of the fight in this characters’ arc that it made me recall why I got into making films in the first place. To tell meaningful stories in an entertaining way. To bring characters to life. I enjoyed this film to no end. 

Plot-wise however, it got off to a slow start. Then, it pursued a story-line we have seen time and again. Most recently in Sorry to Bother You —another strong film with a serious twist. However, Polite Society for me was about great casting and performances. And the soundtrack is straight to the top and off the damn charts. Right up there with Baby Driver and The Big Sick. If you want to see a kung-fu, kick-ass, coming of age story, I highly recommend  Polite Society. It’s anything but.   

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