Return of the Romcom

Shekhar Kapur, probably best known as the director of Elizabeth returns after an extended period with the  romcom What’s Love Got to Do with It? It’s the sort of fun, frothy and good-natured romp that will be very familiar to, and welcomed by, fans of Richard Curtis.

The screenplay on this occasion, however, comes from Jemima Khan, drawing on her own experience of marrying a Muslim man and living in Pakistan, focusing on childhood friends living on the same street while coming from a different background. Lily James is given, in documentary maker Zoe, a character with more depth than we are used to seeing, playing the lead for once instead of second fiddle love interest. Her long term friend Kaz, played by Shazad Latif, counter intuitively wants an arranged, or assisted as he prefers to call it, marriage for himself. It’s an interesting premise that acts as a catalyst for debate and discussion over the contrasting attitudes towards relationships in the East and West, made all the easier on the eye by a gloss that Kapur brings from his lavish period dramas, as the movie switches back and forth between continents and cultures.

Emma Thompson crops up as Zoe’s mother, and obviously has a lovely time scene-stealing time as the eccentric mum, but the film is all about Zoe and Kaz and the shifting sands of their relationship. It all adds up to a light and harmless bit of fun that takes you on a journey to exactly where you imagine its going, but passes by some delightful people and places along the way.