Review by Adam Donato
From the television director of Doctor Who and We Are Lady Parts, Nida Manzoor, comes her feature debut, Polite Society. It stars Priya Kansara as a teenage girl who aspires to be a stunt woman. Everything changes when her sister (played by Ritu Arya) starts seeing a man instead of pursuing her art career. This unlikely action comedy adds a stylized and violent twist to the typical family comedy. With a theatrical release, it will have to combat newcomers like Sisu, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Big George Foreman, and a re-release of Return of the Jedi. Does Polite Society have the personality to stand out among the field?
For the uninitiated, this movie takes a wild turn, and it’s all the better for it. Obviously, the main character aspires to be a stunt woman, but the extent of the high-concept action is beautifully over the top. The story was working well when it was just the hijinks of her and her friends trying to break her sister’s relationship up, but the action aspect of the storyline is what maximizes the concept. The movie has so much personality, and the fight scenes just amplify these moments. The more ridiculous the moves get, the more fun that’s to be had. It definitely delivers on the action front.
Kansara and Arya are so much fun together in this movie. They feel like genuine sisters, and their bond is the life source of the movie. Nimra Bucha — who some might recognize from the Ms. Marvel show — plays the mother of the husband-to-be and is a strong antagonistic force throughout. The standouts from the supporting cast were the friends trying to help break up the couple. Seraphina Beh and Ella Bruccoleri are the funniest characters in the movie. The three friends have ample chemistry and make this venture as fun as can be. The family dynamic is well developed, especially the mother, as she has to deal with the social pressures from the lack of success from her daughters.
Polite Society is a movie that deserves to be seen in theaters. It’s more narratively competent than most of the franchise blockbuster fare cluttering the movie theater these days. Nida Manzoor has a bright future, and it will be exciting to see what she tackles next. For an original movie written and directed by a first-timer to be this enjoyable is impressive. It’s got equal parts good action, likable characters and funny moments. This is sure to be a crowd-pleaser if it garners any attention at the box office. Be sure to check this one out in theaters while it lasts.
Polite Society is now playing in theaters.