Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. Canada/United Kingdom, 2004. Martin Pope Productions, Sienna Films. Screenplay by Ian Iqbal Rashid. Cinematography by David A. Makin. Produced by Jennifer Kawaja, Martin Pope, Julia Sereny. Music by Andrew Lockington. Production Design by Gavin Mitchell. Costume Design by Joyce Schure. Film Editing by Susan Maggi.
Imagine The Wedding Banquet and La Cage Aux Folles crossed with Monsoon Wedding and you have this wonderful, heartfelt comedy. Jimi Mistry is terrific as Alim, a Torontonian who is living happily in London with boyfriend Giles (Kris Holden-Ried), far away from the disapproval of his traditional Ismaeli mother (Suleka Mathew). Since childhood, Alim has kept the company of an imaginary friend in the form of Cary Grant (Kyle MacLachlan doing a dead-on impersonation), who shows up in perfectly tailored suits to give sage advice to our hero whenever his chips are down. When Alim’s mother announces she is visiting in order to convince him to come back to Toronto for his cousin’s wedding, Giles has to move into the guest room and pretend to be a mere flatmate, but of course this doesn’t hold for too long. There’s a genuinely touching connection of family members here beyond all the comedy: mother and son get to know things about each other’s lives that they had no idea about before, love is awakened and new families are created. Matthew’s performance is the most especially endearing in the film, a brilliant and bold portrayal of a woman trapped in an old world and longing desperately to move into a new one. Confidently directed from a beautiful screenplay (both accomplished by Ian Iqbal Rashid), this is a terrific addition to the endless amounts of just-be-yourself comedies (Bend It Like Beckham, etc.) that are all just so much fun to watch.