Award-winning filmmaker Zoe (Lily James) is struggling to develop a big idea for her next film project. Not only that, but Zoe is also struggling to find the perfect man. Perhaps it doesn’t help that she is highly focused on her career. Given her current age, she is continually reminded by many, especially her mother, Cath (Emma Thompson), that the clock is ticking if she ever wants to settle down and start a family. Soon Zoe hears that her next-door neighbour and long-term best friend, Kazim (Shazad Latif), has decided to follow in his parent’s footsteps and is seeking an arranged marriage.
Inspired, Lily pitches the idea of filming Kazim’s journey to find his new wife so she can turn it into a documentary. The documentary will include Kazim’s travel and various interviews with other couples who also had arranged marriages. Zoe will question the outcomes and see if this tradition works long-term. Packing her bags, Zoe travels with Kazim and his family, filming everything. Perhaps during her travels, Zoe may also find unexpected love.
What’s Love Got to Do with It is best described as a feel-good drama with some moments of brief comedy. I found the drama here surprising and unexpected, but it worked wonderfully. Most comedic gags come from actress Emma Thompson, who certainly makes the screen more lively with her quick rants and loudness. The film successfully pulled my heartstrings, and I loved the focus on family, forgiveness, honour, tradition, respect and most importantly, love.
The opening is highly pleasing, launching instantly into the plot and leading to a heartwarming finale. Pacing is generally great here, but there is a long drag during the second act with moments that feel familiar and deliver aspects that aren’t overly new, including Zoe making poor choices and slowly making huge discoveries about love. It even managed to make me tear up with its satisfying conclusions as the credits rolled.
For the most part, performances are fine, but sadly, there is nothing overly new from the leads. Moments of romance can even feel a little forced at times. While actress Emma Thompson brightens up many vital moments, again, it doesn’t feel anything new. I can’t deny that it was all enjoyable to watch.
Overall, I was astonished to discover that this film is more of a feel-good drama than a typical rom-com. The drama aspect is extremely heartwarming and touching, given the themes and topics of family, honour, tradition, and love. Sadly, the leads have moments that feel forced, and while actress Emma Thompson shines with her bubbly personality and fun nature, it’s nothing new. However, I can still proudly admit that I had a great time with this feature, which successfully brought an impacting and touching finale act.