Tag Archives: Shazad Latif

It’s Only Love

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

by Hope Madden

Zoe (Lily James) is having trouble pitching her next documentary. The execs want something upbeat, so she spitballs about her childhood friend, Kazim (Shazad Latif), who’s decided to let his Pakistani parents arrange a marriage for him. Why doesn’t Zoe follow him through all the steps of marrying a stranger?

What will they call this documentary? Meet the Parents…First? My Big Fat Arranged Wedding?

They go with: Love, Contractually.

That’s actually a great nod, since Emma Thompson is in this movie. (And aside from the ’93 Tina Turner biopic, there is also a 2013 documentary called What’s Love Got to Do with It by Rohena Gera that follows eight people in India who’ve decided on arranged marriage. From what I can tell, this movie has no direct relation to that except that everyone is having trouble coming up with an original title.)

Thompson, by the way, is a hoot as Zoe’s mum because she’s a remarkable performer who elevates everything she’s in.

What’s Love… treads similar themes as Michael Showalter’s 2017 The Big Sick. It does not live up to that comparison, but what could? That film was brilliant, touching, authentic and hilarious. This one is safe.  

Both films expose the conflict between falling in love and living up to a family’s expectations. WLGTDWI goes one step further by also watching Zoe’s struggle over whether to settle or live up to her own expectations of love.

Kazim’s choice stems from the fact that he’s not sure he even believes in love, or in “in love”, and he’s weary from trying. Meanwhile, Zoe sees herself as a fairy tale princess who can’t find the kind of love she feels she’s been promised. So, she repeatedly makes terrible, often drunken decisions that she immediately regrets in her search for her handsome prince.

There’s also a very big question about what to do with well-meaning but overbearing parents who continue to pressure you well into your thirties. And that’s a lot for one movie to cover. Director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) keeps it warm – there really are no villains here – while Jemima Khan’s script offers messy, human characters you can identify with.

The point is, marry your best friend. Which is good advice, and Latif and James have a wonderful, lived-in friendship, but no real chemistry. The film does what it can to resolve the issues it raises, but that last gasp “will they or won’t they” felt more like “do I really want them to?”

Tech Savvy


by George Wolf

Since its inception, the “real-time computer screen” sub genre has spawned films attempting to expose truths about how small -and dangerous – the wired world has become. By drawing inspiration from urgent real world events, director/co-writer Timur Bekmambetov’s Profile achieves more lasting resonance than most.

London reporter Amy Whittacker (Valene Kane) is chasing a big story that will expose the online propaganda channels Islamic radicals utilize to recruit European women. Adopting the online profile of “Melody Nelson,” Amy quickly makes contact with Bilel (Shazad Latif), a charismatic recruiter.

It isn’t long before Amy is in way over her head, and even as her friends, boyfriend, and editor urge her to stop, Amy seems seduced by the very tactics she hoped to expose.

The logic isn’t always water tight, and some decisions flirt with absurdity, but authentic performances from Kane and Latif reel in this catfish, and Bekmambetov lands it with a chilling accuracy.