Film review | All in Good Time – Laughs and pathos as marital bliss eludes newlweds in Anglo-Asian comedy

All in Good Time

Two young newlyweds struggle to consummate their marriage amid family turmoil in the boisterous, bittersweet Anglo-Asian comedy All in Good Time.

A screen version of East is East writer Ayub Khan-Din’s Olivier-award-winning play Rafta Rafta, the tale is an updating and reworking of a 1963 play by Bill Naughton, which was itself turned into the 1966 film The Family Way – back then Hayley Mills and Hwyel Bennett played the leads and Paul McCartney wrote songs for soundtrack.

Here the young couple are a pair of bright-eyed British Asians living in present-day Bolton, working-class dreamer Atul (Reece Ritchie) and his levelheaded middle-class bride Vina (Amara Karan). Forced to live cheek by jowl with Atul’s parents in a cramped terrace house, it’s no wonder the pair’s wedding night is a disaster, ruined by collapsing beds, noisy bathrooms and by Atul’s overbearing, limelight-hogging father (Harish Patel, reprising his stage role opposite Meera Syal as his long-suffering wife).

But as days pass into weeks, marital bliss continues to elude Atul and Vina, pulling them apart and also exposing the cracks in the marriages of their respective parents. It’s all very contrived and sometimes clumsy, but what rescues the tale is the element of pathos lurking beneath the film’s broad comedy. Patel’s paterfamilias is a particularly memorable creation, a surprisingly complex mix of bluster and insecurity, and a man who first invites ridicule and ends up earning our sympathy.

On general release from Friday 11th May.

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