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what's love got to do with it?


starring: lily james, shazad latif, shabana azmi, and emma thompson

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A filmmaker decides to document her best friend's journey toward arranged marriage.

How do you find lasting love in today’s world? For documentary-maker and dating app addict Zoe (Lily James), swiping right has only delivered an endless stream of Mr Wrongs, to her eccentric mother Cath’s (Emma Thompson) dismay. For Zoe’s childhood friend and neighbour Kaz (Shazad Latif), the answer is to follow his parents’ example and opt for an arranged (or “assisted”) marriage to a bright and beautiful bride from Pakistan. As Zoe films his hopeful journey from London to Lahore to marry a stranger, chosen by his parents, she begins to wonder if she might have something to learn from a profoundly different approach to finding love.

What's Love Got To Do With It? isn't your typical rom-com. Central to the film's plot is the exploration of arranged or assisted marriage, a starkly different reality to the Western world. Taking inspiration from her own cross-cultural marriage, screenwriter Jemima Goldsmith wonderfully contrasts the pro's and con's of assisted marriage in the form of the film's two protagonists. 

In doing so it allows a Western audience to experience the reasons behind the practice beyond any click-bait, uninformed headline. But it also holds a mirror up to our culture, and the failings and frustrations of our romantic 'freedom'.

There are some narrative choices made that slightly distract from the main drive of the film's story, pulling the audience down an unnecessary path. However, the film is a charming, breezy escape with some really poignant moments that will truly move you. 

Lily James and Shazad Latif are not only both really likable but completely believable as friends and will-they-won't-they romantic interests. The supporting cast is lead by a magnificently colorful and energetic Emma Thompson (when is she ever never truly superb) with some great, dramatic and emotional moments beautiful captured by Shabana Azmi.

While there are some distracting narrative choices, What's Love Got To Do With It? is a charming, breezy rom-com escape


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