The Movie Waffler New to VOD - POLITE SOCIETY | The Movie Waffler


A martial artist attempts to scupper her sister's impending wedding.

Review by Blair MacBride

Directed by: Nida Manzoor

Starring: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Nimra Bucha, Akshaye Khanna, Jeff Mirza, Ella Bruccoleri

Polite Society poster

Nida Manzoor bursts onto the scene with her side-splitting feature debut Polite Society. This outrageous comedy action thriller mash-up provides a lovable wackiness that will live long in the memory.

Ria Khan (Priya Kansara) is an aspiring stuntwoman, living at home with parents (Shobu Kapoor and Jeff Mirza) and sister Lena (Ritu Arya) - the latter having recently returned home after dropping out of art school. The two sisters have a rich bond, evidenced in them both being each other's champion: Ria is constant in her belief that they will both eventually succeed in their dream jobs, and Lena begrudgingly enjoys acting as camerawoman for her little sister's martial arts YouTube videos. However, after an Eid celebration to end all Eid celebrations, Lena becomes attracted to hoighty-toighty well-off bachelor Salim (Akshay Khanna).

Polite Society review

To bolster Ria's already clear revulsion of her sister's suitor, she is later left in utter dismay as Lena agrees to be his betrothed after being "chosen" in a semi-arranged marriage. Ria, though, refuses to accept what she sees as her sister's impending demise, and rallies her friends to embark on a series of crazy slapstick schemes to put a stop to Lena's union before it's too late.

Polite Society flys the flag for quirky festival films tremendously well. Manzoor creates a brilliantly choreographed comedic hullabaloo with her writing and directing, almost taking influence from the coming-of-age humour of Netflix's Sex Education. She also triumphs at entwining many areas of different inspirations - including, but not limited to, the beauty of an Asian wedding, the action of kung-fu, and the thrill of a heist flick - all without it feeling too much to properly enjoy. In fact, that's what gives this film its kick.

Polite Society review

On top of that, just as the creative leads of the overall project succeed, so too does its ensemble cast. Kansara is a satirical star in the making with her memorable first leading performance as stirrer-in-chief Ria, and her mates Alba (Ella Bruccoleri) and Clara (Seraphina Beh) provide the perfect amount of sidekick hilarity. Other noteworthy mentions have to go to Arya as Lena and the delightfully deviant Nimra Bucha as Raheela; the former always having a sarcastic quib on offer, and the latter carrying herself as if she had the combined pizazz of a pantomime villain peppered with the fear of a seasoned Bond villain.

There is little to no doubt that, as this feature progresses to its final stages, Polite Society gets sillier and sillier, perhaps even cringeworthy, on one or two occasions. Further craziness of horror; supernatural genetics; dance routines, and even shootouts, get thrown into the ever growing pot of mayhem. So much so, that it might even leave this film's biggest enthusiast questioning "What on God's green earth just happened there?"

Polite Society review

Putting that to one side, however, this nonsensicality is the very essence of Polite Society's hilarious brilliance. It's crazy, unique, and unbelievably outlandish at times; but most importantly, for the vast majority, it will have you barreled over in hysterics.

Polite Society
 is on UK/ROI VOD now.

2023 movie reviews