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Starring: Lily James, Emma Thompson, Sajal Ali, Shazad Latif, Rob Brydon, Shabana Azmi, Asim Chaudhry
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Romantic comedy directed by Shekhar Kapur. What’s Love Got to Do with It? (2022) follows documentary-maker Zoe (Lily James), who is a dating app addict, but swiping right has only delivered an endless stream of Mr. Wrongs, to her eccentric mother Cath’s (Emma Thompson) dismay. For Zoe’s childhood friend and neighbour Kazim (Shazad Latif), the answer is to follow his parents example and opt for an arranged marriage to a bright and beautiful bride from Pakistan. As Zoe films his hopeful journey from London to Lahore to marry a stranger, chosen by his parents, she begins to wonder if she might have something to learn from a profoundly different approach to finding love.
Our Favorite Quotes:'We all need other people. There's no weakness in that.' - Cath Stevenson (What's Love Got to Do with It?) Click To Tweet
Zoe Stevenson: Please don’t tell me your parents still don’t know you smoke?
Kazim Khan: I’m an oncology registrar. It’s not the best look, is it?
Kazim Khan: I’m going old school on this one. I’m getting an arranged marriage. Well, “assisted marriage”. That’s what we’re calling it these days.
Zoe Stevenson: What, like assisted suicide?
Zoe Stevenson: I can’t get my head round marrying someone you don’t know.
Kazim Khan: It might be easier than marrying someone you do know.
Kazim Khan: Did you never want to get married?
Zoe Stevenson: Ooh, “never” is a bit harsh. I’m still interviewing. I haven’t yet met the one.
Kazim Khan: Ah, the one.
Zoe Stevenson: You know, just someone who I could commit to watching a whole TV series with, would be nice.
Cath Stevenson: [to Aisha] Oh! I cannot believe that you did not tell me that Kaz has asked you to find him a wife. Oh, my God. You are so lucky. My Zoe would kill me if I even tried to choose her clothes, let alone a husband.
Zoe Stevenson: Yeah. That’s because you’d choose someone ill-fitting and insist I grow into him.
Sam: [referring to Zoe’s documentary] I think, look, what we’re after is sort of more upbeat, character-led stories.
Olly: Warm heart, feel-good really. And we were kind of brainstorming, and we think that there probably isn’t a feel-good version of honour killings.
Zoe Stevenson: Probably not.
Zoe Stevenson: I could interview other British couples who’ve also had arranged marriages. Older, younger, happy, unhappy.
Sam: Yeah, like in When Harry Met Sally.
Olly: Ooh, don’t you mean When Harry Was Forced To Meet Sally?
Zoe Stevenson: Well, this isn’t a forced marriage, actually. This is his idea.
Olly: My Big Fat Arranged Wedding.
'You don't have to start with love. You end with love. And over time, you grow to love the person you're with.' - Kazim Khan, 'What? Like Stockholm Syndrome?' - Zoe Stevenson (What's Love Got to Do with It?) Click To Tweet
Sam: Now, I’m just thinking. Meet The Parents First. It’s called Meet The Parents.
Olly: Right. Or, I Hope She’s A Pretty Woman.
Zoe Stevenson: Love Contractually.
Sam: I Love Actually it.
Zoe Stevenson: Dare I ask, what about love?
Kazim Khan: You know what? It’s just a different way of getting there. You don’t have to start with love. You end with love. You know? And over time, you grow to love the person you’re with.
Zoe Stevenson: What? Like Stockholm Syndrome?
Kazim Khan: Marriage isn’t just about two people being in love. It’s a bigger thing than that. It’s about what’s best for children, and the whole family. Society.
Zoe Stevenson: Just say all that weird, old-fashioned, conventional s**t on camera.
Zoe Stevenson: And how is this any different from, say, dating apps?
Kazim Khan: Well, I guess you could say it’s kind of like a bespoke, 3D halal Tinder, operated by your parents.
Zahid Khan: People keep talking about this click. You know? He needs a companion, not a click.
'Sometimes, you meet someone, and you know in a heartbeat that you want to spend the rest of your life without them.' - Zoe Stevenson (What's Love Got to Do with It?) Click To Tweet
Mo: [to Kazim] No photos yet. Because think about it, if she’s too fit, then you won’t know if she’s a good fit. Okay? You’re going to see the picture. Yeah. You’re thinking with your little lo-lo. You need to be thinking with your no-no. Okay?
Aisha Khan: Actually, it would be best if she is a, you know, Jalandhar KPK Pathan mix.
Kazim Khan: This is getting kind of niche.
Mo: What’s your education, bro?
Kazim Khan: Bachelors in Biology. Then medical school.
Aisha Khan: He’s a doctor.
Mo: Ooph. Well, now this is top of the food chain.
Mo: [to Kazim] And any vices I should know about? Drinking? Smoking? Dogging? Dogging? S and M? Anything like that?
'You wander from room to room sometimes looking for the diamond that's already around your own neck.' - Farooq Khan (What's Love Got to Do with It?) Click To Tweet
Zahid Khan: No dogs. No pets.
Mo: No, no. Dogging means something… Don’t worry. Don’t worry.
Zahid Khan: Cats are okay.
Mo: Cats? I’ll write that down. “Cats”.
Lily: [reading from the dating app profile] My mantra is, “You have to endure the rain if you want to see the rainbow.”
Maud: What does that mean?
Zoe Stevenson: It means I’ll have to toss a Viagra in his mouth when he’s talking.
Zoe Stevenson: I thought the one upside to getting married is that you get to let yourself go?
Zoe Stevenson: Once upon a time, there was a girl and she met a frog. And he promised her, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a handsome prince.” And she said, “I’m not interested in fixing anyone but myself. And anyway, I’d far rather have a cool, talking frog than a boring old prince.”
Zoe Stevenson: Once upon a time, Cinderella met a handsome prince. And sometimes, kids, you meet someone, and you know in a heartbeat that you want to spend the rest of your life without them. Once upon another time, Cinderella met another prince. Because in fairy tales, a heroine is incomplete without one. And another prince. And he asked her to marry him. And she said, “No.” Cinderella focused on glass ceilings instead of glass slippers, which means she focused on work, and realised she was fine without a boring old prince. The End.
'Love at first anything's a mental health issue.' - Kazim Khan (What's Love Got to Do with It?) Click To Tweet
Mo: You’re not going to get what you want if you don’t say what you want.
Kazim Khan: [at the matchmaking event] Is this your first time?
City Boy: Mate, here, it’s everyone’s first time. At least that’s what they’ll tell you.
Zoe Stevenson: Oh, Kaz. Isn’t this a massive, crazy gamble? I mean, What if there’s no chemistry? How are you even going to know, if you don’t believe in sex before marriage all of a sudden?
Kazim Khan: I’m not sure I believe in sex after marriage. Most of my friends have no sex after marriage. And that’s with the loves of their lives.
Zoe Stevenson: Fair point. It’s depressing.
Zoe Stevenson: [to Kazim] Do you want to go and get a drink? A Bloody Mary for me, and a Virgin for you.
'It is better to fall into like, and walk into love.' - Aisha Khan (What's Love Got to Do with It?) Click To Tweet
Cath Stevenson: [referring to the Khans] We’ve been very lucky to have them as neighbours. Actually, they’ve become like family to me since your father left for that teenaged whore.
Zoe Stevenson: She’s thirty-five.
Cath Stevenson: Exactly.
Cath Stevenson: Oh, well, don’t leave it too late. Human eggs have a sell-by date too, you know.
Zoe Stevenson: Oh, well, maybe I’ll freeze them. I could be a ninety year-old pushing a triple pram.
Cath Stevenson: Well, that’s no good to me, is it? Because I’ll be dead.
Kazim Khan: There has to be a spark. There wasn’t even a flicker.
Aisha Khan: You know what I say. Simmer first, then boil. You all want to boil first, then simmer. And when it cools down, you get disappointed, and throw out the chai.
Kazim Khan: Yeah, well, simmer for too long, you end up with a dry pot.
Farooq Khan: No-one likes a dry pot, bro.
'Life's too short and too long to marry the wrong person.' - Zoe Stevenson (What's Love Got to Do with It?) Click To Tweet
Kazim Khan: [to Maymouna, over Skype] How do you feel about possibly moving to London?
Maymouna’s Mother: She’s fine with it.
Zahid Khan: She will love London. It’s a very multicultural place. Full of Pakistanis.
Nani Jan Khan: [in Urdu] It’s like living in a giant brothel.
Zoe Stevenson: [referring to freezing her eggs] Is there an express service?
Fertility Doctor: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Just come in here on your lunch break. And then in your sixties, we defrost your baby.
Fertility Doctor: Listen, how much do you want to be a mother?
Zoe Stevenson: Well, I’d rather be a father.
Fertility Doctor: Then you don’t have to juggle everything.
'Maybe somewhere between passion and pragmatism, maybe there's a path to happy ever after.' - Zoe Stevenson (What's Love Got to Do with It?) Click To Tweet
Zoe Stevenson: I thought that was the whole point of this egg freezing, is that I don’t have to put all my eggs in one b****rd.
Zoe Stevenson: Once upon a time, there was a girl called Little Red Riding Hood. She’d had a bad week. And all she wanted was to feel better. Or to feel nothing. So, when her mother warned her not to stray off that path, and talk to any strangers, Little Red Riding Hood thought to herself, “Where’s the fun on a well-trodden path?” And of course, she met a wolf. In an instant, all those bad feelings disappeared, like magic. “What’s the worst that could happen?” she thought to herself. “So, a bad boy wolf wants to eat me? A little nibble here and there can’t hurt. Can it?”
'A husband and wife should be like garments to each other. To protect and keep each other warm.' - David (What's Love Got to Do with It?) Click To Tweet
Kazim Khan: I got news. I got engaged.
Zoe Stevenson: Wait. What?
Zoe Stevenson: Love at first Skype.
Kazim Khan: Well, obviously not, no. Love at first anything’s a mental health issue.
Zoe Stevenson: [to Kazim] So you really will be marrying a stranger. I guess, in the end, so is everyone else. Everyone turns out to be someone else, or f***ing someone else.
'I don't believe that we choose who we fall in love with. It's too overwhelming to be in our control.' - Jamila (What's Love Got to Do with It?) Click To Tweet
Zoe Stevenson: It’s just been a challenging week.
Kazim Khan: What? Another date with someone you already hate?
Zoe Stevenson: I’m pretty sure most married men would cheat if they could get away with it.
Cath Stevenson: James wouldn’t.
Zoe Stevenson: Even if you’re sure your wife would never know?
James: No, of course not.
Zoe Stevenson: Why not?
James: Because I’d know.
Kazim Khan: I don’t like flying. Even the lingo’s morbid. It’s what? “Final destination”. “Departed”.
Zoe Stevenson: Or “Terminal”.
Zoe Stevenson: Would you cheat if you knew you’d never get caught? Be honest. If your wife would never know.
Kazim Khan: No.
Zoe Stevenson: Why not?
Kazim Khan: [pointing to God] Well, he’d know.
Nani Jan Khan: [in Urdu] Fall in love, lose your peace.
Aisha Khan: You know, we always say, it is better to fall into like, and walk into love.
Zoe Stevenson: I can’t believe you said, “Whatever love means”. That’s what Prince Charles famously said when he got engaged to Diana.
Kazim Khan: I thought that sounded familiar.
Kazim Khan: First it’s the mehndi, which is tonight. And kind of like a stag and a hen rolled into one. Except your grandparents are there, which is lovely. And the groom isn’t stripped naked and tied to a lamppost.
Kazim Khan: You know all that stuff, passion, and chemistry, whatever you want to call it, it’s not the most important thing. Doesn’t last, anyway.
Zoe Stevenson: [referring to his sister Jamila] All this unhappiness. All she did was fall in love.
Kazim Khan: No, that’s not all she did, Zoe. She chose love over family.
Zoe Stevenson: But isn’t that the whole point of marriage?
Kazim Khan: I told you, Zoe. Love is a dangerous mental illness.
Zoe Stevenson: You’re still fully signed up to this?
Kazim Khan: Yes.
Zoe Stevenson: And this is what you want?
Kazim Khan: Yes, this is what I want.
Zoe Stevenson: This is not a veil on your sins. This is a bloody great burka shrouding your whole identity.
Kazim Khan: What do you want?
Zoe Stevenson: I don’t want you to marry someone you don’t love. Life’s too short. And too long to marry the wrong person.
Kazim Khan: You keep questioning my decisions. Maybe you should focus on your own choices.
Zoe Stevenson: What is that supposed to mean?
Maybe the reason you haven’t got anyone to watch a TV series with is that you actively search out anyone who is wrong.
Kazim Khan: If the first person you date is a d**k, you’re unlucky. If the next ten people you date are d**ks, then maybe you need to take a long look at yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself why.
Zoe Stevenson: Have you got any more profound psychological insights?
Kazim Khan: I have a question. Does it hurt less when you aim low and miss?
Zoe Stevenson: Beauty And The Beast. Well, Beast had his faults. But persistence pays off. He didn’t actually lock Beauty in his cellar. That’s just what a relationship felt like to Beauty. Over time, Beauty grew to enjoy Beast’s company. You know, he was dependable and available, and there’s a lot to be said for those qualities. Was the Beast her dream hunk? No. Did he sweep her off her feet? No. Did he take her breath away? Perhaps not. But Beauty had learnt that it’s better to simmer, then boil.
Zoe Stevenson: What the Beast was, kids, was good enough. And sometimes, good enough is good enough.
Lily: And she was in love with the Beast.
Zoe Stevenson: She was in like with him.
Lily: What do you mean, “in like”?
Zoe Stevenson: In like with him, which is way more important.
Zoe Stevenson: Now I wonder whether there is something to be learned from a social system which offers the opportunity to meet available, like-minded, non-commitment phobic men, chosen by the person who knows you best.
Cath Stevenson: Me. Like me.
Zoe Stevenson: And also, you know, maybe between the two extremes of no choice in forced marriages, and just too much choice on dating apps. I’m always on dating apps. You know, maybe somewhere between passion and pragmatism, maybe there’s a path to happy ever after.
James: Can we talk?
Zoe Stevenson: Nothing good’s ever come after those three words.
James: I just can’t be your plan B. I want more than that.
Zoe Stevenson: What are you doing? This is fine. Alright? This is going fine.
James: Yeah, but I don’t want fine.
Zoe Stevenson: Why? Everyone likes fine!
James: Zoe, you don’t want fine either.
Zoe Stevenson: What am I going to tell my mum?
James: Oh. Tell her that I will probably end up being your sensible second husband. Well, I mean, either that, or I’ll marry the dog.
Jamila: I don’t believe that we choose who we fall in love with. It’s too overwhelming to be in our control. But even if it had been a choice and not my kismet, I’d still have chosen him.
Kazim Khan: [to Zoe, referring to their backgrounds] Number 47. number 49. Different continents.
Cath Stevenson: Where’s James?
Zoe Stevenson: He just dumped me, so.
Cath Stevenson: Oh, Zoe. What have you done now? Oh, no! I thought he was finally the solution.
Zoe Stevenson: Oh! You sound like Hitler!
Zoe Stevenson: [to Cath] Am I just half a person when I’m not with a man? Is that what you think? Am I just not enough for you as I am?
Kazim Khan: [after finding out Maymouna is in love with someone else] Why didn’t you tell me? So, what do we do now?
Maymouna: Pretend. Like everyone else.
Zoe Stevenson: Sleeping Beauty tried to fake it to make it. She was just sad. And so she went to sleep for a hundred years. Snow White was also sad. She ate a poisoned apple on purpose because she was depressed. Which literally means “deep rest”. And no-one lived happily ever after because that never happens in real life. Only in fairy tales.
Aisha Khan: [to Kazim] You know, beta, why the Prophet said, “Paradise lies at the mother’s feet”? Because there is no love greater than a mother’s love for her child. That’s why our prayers are double. You know what I pray for every night? I pray for your happiness. And the happiness of all my children. That’s all that matters.
Cath Stevenson: I must just say, I do admire your independence. And you’re wrong. I don’t value you less when you’re not with a man. And I’m very, very proud of everything you’ve achieved. But…
Zoe Stevenson: But, nothing counts before the “but”.
Cath Stevenson: There’s a difference between independence and being so cut off that no-one can get close to you. We all need other people. Even you. There’s no weakness in that, Zoe. Zahid’s right. Loneliness is a Western disease, and it’s far more deadly than cancer. The only cure is to allow other people to care about you, and not to always push them away.
Cath Stevenson: [to Zoe] They say it takes a village to raise a child. But what about the adults? I’d say it takes a village to sustain an adult. And I’m so lucky to have found my village next door. And all I want is for you to find yours, that’s all.
Kazim Khan: Ammi, Maymouna’s not sick. Unless you call heartbreak a sickness.
Aisha Khan: What do you mean?
Kazim Khan: Turns out our marriage was more “insisted” than “assisted”.
Kazim Khan: [after telling his parents he and Maymouna are divorced] All you have to say is, “I divorce you. I divorce you. I divorce you”.
Cath Stevenson: Oh, really? I wish we had that here.
Kazim Khan: You may as well all know that I smoke.
Cath Stevenson: That’s very bad for you.
Kazim Khan: And I have done since I was fifteen.
Aisha Khan: But you’re a doctor now, so, not in public.
Zahid Khan: I kept asking myself, “Why is this grown man always up there in that treehouse? Does he think he is Tarzan?”
Kazim Khan: Rapunzel. Let down your hair.
Zoe Stevenson: I’m pretty sure I’m the witch in this fairy tale.
Zoe Stevenson: Would you like to watch a whole TV series with me?
Kazim Khan: Are you sure? Because we should take it very, you know, take it slowly.
Zoe Stevenson: Yeah. Yeah, like an episode at a time.
Kazim Khan: No bingeing.
Zoe Stevenson: No bingeing.
Zoe Stevenson: [as they’re about to kiss] Just please don’t forget it this time.
Kazim Khan: I never forgot. Never.
Zoe Stevenson: And maybe we could just like, we could have a break clause halfway through.
Kazim Khan: Always a break clause. Always.
[they finally kiss]