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Starring: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Nimra Bucha, Shobu Kapoor, Ella Bruccoleri, Seraphina Beh, Shona Babayemi, Jeff Mirza, Akshay Khanna
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Action comedy written and directed by Nida Manzoor. Polite Society (2023) follows martial artist-in-training to become stunt woman Ria Khan (Priya Kansara), who believes she must save her older sister, Lena (Ritu Arya), from her impending marriage. After enlisting the help of her friends, Ria attempts to pull off the most ambitious of all wedding heists in the name of independence and sisterhood.
Ria: The gods whisper to the warrior, “You will not withstand the fury.” The warrior whispers back, “I am the fury!”
Ria: What is that?
Alba: It’s Marc Jacobs. It’ll hide the scent. You can’t let Spence smell your fear. She’s a bloodhound for the stuff.
Ms Spence: Ms. Khan, would you say a career as a stuntwoman is a serious one?
Kovacs: If it’s an a**-kicking you’re after, I could give you that for free.
Ms Spence: I’m sure Dr. Gupta would love to have you work with him at his pharmacy.
Ria: No. No. I am not going to be a doctor. No way. Forget it. Do I look like a doctor to you?
Kovacs: Yeah, mate, you do.
Kovacs: Oi, stunt woman. Show us a stunt then.
Ria: Pi**, Kovacs. I’ve had enough of your s**te for one morning.
Kovacs: Minus ten house points. Insubordination.
Ria: You can’t minus house points.
Kovacs: Oh. I think you’ll find I can.
Clara: Leave it, Ria.
Alba: Yeah. Come on. Let’s go. It’s not worth it.
Ria: No. Let’s dance.
Clara: Suit yourself then.
Alba: Kovacs versus Khan, people!
Clara: [as they’re watching Ria losing her fight with Kovacs] Khan struggles to prove her salt as a stuntwoman.
Alba: But you’ve got to admire her tenacity.
Kovacs: You’re too feeble to be a stuntwoman.
Ria: I’m not feeble. I am the fury.
Kovacs: You what, mate?
Ria: I am the fury!
Fatima: [referring to Lena] She’s not going to be a receptionist. How would that look?
Ria: She’s an artist, not a pencil-pounding desk shagger.
Fatima: Can you just stop it with the stuntwoman crap. I mean, you know, do you think your father sends you to that school for you to be a stunt woman?
Fatima: Uh, no. And I don’t Want to hear another peep about any of this artist “shartist” stuntwoman crap, okay?
'Humanity's pretty basic.' - Clara (Polite Society) Click To Tweet
Jezah: [referring to Salim] He’s not a banker, so he’s not evil. But he’s still got s**tloads of money, so I totally would. He’s fitter than God.
Ria: You reckon God’s fit? I always imagined this like old, beardy, fat guy.
Ria: [referring to Salim] Look at them. Parading themselves around for some wife-hungry, womanizing skeeze.
Jezah: I’d let him womanize me any day of the week.
Ria: He’s looking for a wife. Like actively seeking.
Fatima: So sweet.
Ria: No, not sweet. Evil. He’s got an enormous wedding boner.
Lena: Cool. I’ll take the pi** out of him.
Fatima: No. No! You cannot. I forbid you.
Lena: I’m a dropout. I’m hardly prime wedding material.
Ria: True. That is true.
Fatima: No! No, no, no. You’re pretty. You’re thin. You’re charming. Not like that Seema’s daughter with her giant ankles.
Lena: Ma, not cool! That’s harsh.
Ria: Ma, that is no okay!
Fatima: Why? Why?
Ria: [to Lena] Why are you wearing a cardigan? You don’t wear cardigans.
Fatima: Ria, shut up. Beti, you look lovely.
Ria: Fine. Shag him, then cut him loose. Clean and simple.
Fatima: What is wrong with you?
Lena: I used to go to art school. But not anymore. Yeah, it didn’t really work out. So, to answer your question, what do I do? I disappoint my parents. That’s what I do.
Salim: I feel like there’s this huge pressure these days to like do a thing. You know, the thing we do that’s supposed to define us. I think it’s really great to just allow yourself to be, you know, working it out.
Alba: Act one, Lena splashes onto the art school scene, a spicy ingenue with a killer brushstroke.
Clara: Act two, even with all the talent in the world, she’s hit with, boom! Crisis.
Clara: She thinks she’s s**te. Confidence depleted, where does she find herself? At a low point.
Alba: A trough.
Clara: Rock effing bottom.
Alba: Seeking temporary solace in the firm bosom of a fit guy. Will she ever return to her art?
Clara: Act three. Yeah, she bloody does.
Ria: [referring to Lena] She’s been seeing this guy who I think is a bit of a smarmy w**ker. Excuse my French. I mean, what is it with men? Am I right? I’m no expert, but they just seem to destroy things. The economy, the ozone, the rain forests. I just, I don’t know. It’s like the whole universe revolves around them, bending to their will. Maybe it’s time the universe bends to someone else.
Ria: This is Salim Shah. He’s thirty-two, big shot, geneticist, setting up some fancy new lab. He’s also the mastermind derailing Lena’s future.
Alba: The lecherous loathsome cad.
Clara: The poo-face!
'She's got a tropical island and a fit guy. What have you got? Hormonal acne and geography coursework.' - Clara and Alba (Polite Society) Click To Tweet
Ria: Sisters, this is more than just act two wobbles. Lena has been brainwashed by this wife hunting maniac, who has chosen her to be his trophy bride. And she is too sad and minds**t to see what is going on. So that leaves it to us to break off this sham wedding. Who’s with me?
Clara: Down with the patriarchy!
Alba: Let’s decimate this mother!
Alba: [after they all yell in agreement] Cool. So what’s the plan?
Rafe: You should see it like Lena has outsourced the search for a suitable match to us, so that we then carry out the necessary due diligence, saving her from investing any unnecessary emotional capital, whilst providing her with a maximum yield.
Ria: [to Lena] I’m being dramatic? You’ve been seeing this guy for not even a month, and you’re marrying him. That’s dramatic. You’re being dramatic!
Ria: So you’re doing a Jane Austen then. Nice.
Lena: I’m not doing a Jane Austen.
Ria: Well, throwing your life away to marry some rich Mr. Darcy w**ker sounds pretty 1800s retro, if you ask me.
Alba: I knew diplomacy wasn’t going to work. When has it ever worked?
Clara: Yeah. Humanity’s pretty basic.
Alba: [as Ria has disguised herself as a man] Just remember, back straight, tits in, and swagger. Two, three, four.
Clara: [over radio] You don’t have to repeat everything, numbnuts.
Alba: Copy that, ball bag.
Lena: So you bumped into him at the gym, huh? Really?
Ria: No. I followed his movements, and tracked him down. I wanted to meet him. Seeing as he’s to be my soon-to-be brother-in-law.
Lena: What did I tell you about staying out of my life?
Lena: [the start fighting, and Lena starts smashing Ria’s head against their photo] I told you to pi** off!
Ria: [as they’re beating each other up] He thinks you’re kind.
Lena: I am kind.
Ria: No, you’re not. You’re arrogant. You’re egotistical. You’re an artist. The sooner you get out of this Stepford Wife cardigan phase, the better for everyone!
'When you love someone so much, it's hard to let them go.' - Fatima (Polite Society) Click To Tweet
Lena: That was the phase, Ria. This is me. This is me!
Ria: Bulls**t! The Lena that I know would never give up on her art!
Lena: Well, boo-hoo. She did!
Lena: Because I’m not good enough!
Clara: [referring to Salim] Nothing dodgy, man. As far as I understand, he’s doing really good work helping out sick babies.
Alba: Yeah. Consultations. A lot of pro boner stuff.
Clara: Pro bono.
Clara: You said “pro boner”. It’s “pro bono”.
Alba: Well, whatever it is, your man, Salim, is one sexy mensch.
Ria: How could I be jealous?
Clara: Well, she’s got a tropical island and a fit guy. What have you got?
Alba: Hormonal acne and geography coursework.
Ria: You think I want a fit guy? Ha! Okay, I am going to be a stuntwoman, and Lena is going to be a great artist, and nothing is going to stop us. Especially not some pretty boy with nice teeth!
Ria: I want you to be an artist.
Lena: For Christ’s sake, I am not an artist! And you are not a stuntwoman.
Ria: Dear Eunice, don’t worry about not responding. I just thought I’d let you know I’ve given up on being a stuntwoman.
Ria: I think I’ve really messed things up with my sister. She’s not talking to me anymore. What if she never talks to me again?
Ria: [to Raheela] I just wanted to apologize for breaking into your home, trying to frame your son, accusing him of philandering, generally uncool behavior. I’m sorry.