Polite Society Is A Fun Action Comedy That Overindulges Itself

Polite Society review featured.

I’ve wanted to watch Polite Society ever since I saw the trailer. A Pakistani female action comedy with Kung Fu and a sisterly love anchoring it all is a genre mashup I never knew I wanted. And I’m glad to say the movie doesn’t disappoint in any of those regards. While it’s not perfect, the action, humour and performances all deliver a really fun movie that is over-the-top ridiculous in the best possible way. Read on for my non-spoiler Polite Society review.

Please note that this Polite Society review will be free of any spoilers.

The Movie Anchors Itself With A Great Sisterhood

Polite Society review sisters.
Image via Focus Features

Polite Society is the story of two sisters, Ria (Priya Kansara) and Lena (Ritu Arya), who both have ambitions of their own. While Ria wants to be a great stuntwoman, Lena is pursuing art in college, albeit, she’s hit a bit of a snag. While taking time off from college to stew in her own self-pity, Lena meets a boy. Actually, it’s not all that simple as the boy is actually a pre-approved marriage prospect from the Pakistani community of their town. The boy’s mother Raheela (Nimra Bucha) is part of the elite in their social circle, and she is shopping for a bride for her very eligible son. Lena ends up being the perfect candidate (in more ways than one), and the two start dating. Much to Ria’s disappointment.

The sister relationship is one of the best parts of Polite Society. Simply because it’s not shown through loving gestures or sappy dialogue, but more through their shared bizarre and frantic energy. When Ria needs help shooting stunt videos for her YouTube channel, she literally drags her sister out of bed kicking and screaming, while Lena eventually succumbs and is super supportive as she directs the hell out of Ria. It’s a heartwarming relationship that revels in its mutual craziness.

A Tight Action Comedy Weakened By A Flimsy Protagonist

Polite Society review Ria.
Image via Focus Features

The conflict of the story arises when Ria, due in part to a fear of losing her best friend and sister to marriage, and another part due to intuition that says something is off about the boy, has a huge problem with Lena’s impending marriage. But what the actual issue is, is something that Ria nor the audience ever see coming. It’s a reveal that doesn’t really live up to the build-up, but as I’ll discuss in this Polite Society review, the movie isn’t really about all of that.

Polite Society really works because of the actors in front of the camera who sell every moment of what we see on screen. From the most serious to the absolutely bonkers elements of some of the story. Kansara is pitch perfect as the immature, yet highly insightful nerdy and determined Ria who lives by her own rules, no matter what anyone says. Her character development is a little flimsy, given that besides wanting to be a stuntwoman and saving her sister, there’s not much else for audiences to connect with her. She doesn’t have any moments of failure or self-doubt that she has to overcome, for her to have any cohesive arc. But Kansara still gives everything to the performance and Ria’s simple nature and resilient attitude make her instantly charming to audiences.

Polite Society Sees Some Great Talent In Front Of The Camera

Polite Society review villain.
Image via Focus Features

Supporting Kansara are some awesome performances by the rest of the cast. Arya is one of my favourite South Asian actresses working outside of the Indian industry, and she’s a delight here. While she doesn’t get much to do, she makes every moment impactful and memorable. Her best moments are when she’s playing the straight man to Kansara’s Ria. But even better when they both devolve into their sisterly craziness. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ria’s amazing friends, played by Ella Bruccoleri, Shona Babayemi and Seraphina Be add to the kooky comedy of the movie even more with their absolutely hilarious performances. But the stand out in this Polite Society review is Bucha’s main villain.

Bucha is quickly becoming an iconic villain on screen after her turns in Ms. Marvel and now Polite Society. Not to mention her star-making turn in the amazing The Queen Of My Dreams. Bucha’s talent is on full display as she is absolutely playing a larger-than-life villain, almost going as big as a grandiose comic book villain. And I mean that in the best possible way. She is making a meal out of every line of dialogue and every scene, creating a villain you love to hate.

Polite Society Review Conclusion

Polite Society is a fun one-time watch on your own or with friends. There are enough moments of hilarity, crazy and over-the-top action, coupled with some very cool shots. The humour commenting on the pressures that South Asian women feel to get married, or have a career to better their prospects for marriage, is very universal and relateable. While the movie does end up indulging in its wackiness a little too much for my tastes, with a very weak climax and a baffling main conflict that isn’t really explored fully. It’s still a quick watch and breezes by, especially when investing in Ria’s journey.

Polite Society is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

What did you think of Polite Society? Let me know in the comments below or on X (Twitter) at @theshahshahid.

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Polite Society Is A Fun Action Comedy That Overindulges Itself
  • Acting - 7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 8/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
  • Watchability - 7.5/10
  • Rewatchability - 5.5/10
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