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All in Good Time


Stars: Reece Ritchie, Amara Karan, Harish Patel, Meera Syal, Arsher Ali, Shelley King

Director: Nigel Cole

Originally filmed in 1966 with Hayley Mills, as The Family Way, Bill Naughton's play, although now given a Hindi slant by screenwriter Ayub Khan Din, remains fully rooted in the past. Its story and attitudes seem dated, and one cannot but wonder whether these events could still take place in the 21st century.

Atul (Ritchie) and Vima (Karan) get married in a traditional Hindi ceremony, but their honeymoon holiday is cancelled when the travel firm crashes, and they are forced to move in with his parents right away. Atul's slobbish and often intoxicated father (Patel) ruins the wedding night and, both virgins, the 'happy' couple find themselves unable to consummate the marriage, Atul in particular being driven to distraction by his father's noisy love-making in the bedroom next door.

Their three neighbours, who act as a kind of Greek chorus to events, soon see to it that word gets around. 'And after two weeks with no telly,' they cackle. Mother (Syal) finally breaks the news to father: 'There's been no seed planted in the Shalimar Gardens.' The relationship looks doomed...

Things start badly: the father's farcical interference quickly becomes annoying, and there's some tiresome sexual imagery. But the film does become more perceptive as it goes on, specially when family secrets start tumbling out of the cupboard, and we warm a little to the characters, outdated though they are.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour by deluxe.
93 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 06 May 2012