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Review: Meet the Patels

October 16, 2015

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Meet the Patels PosterRavi Patel, the title subject in the utterly delightful documentary Meet the Patels, is approaching thirty and facing pressure to find a wife.  But this process is complicated by living in a family where Patels always marry Patels, and nobody breaks away from their proud Indian culture.

Ravi’s more traditionalistic parents are more than happy to play matchmaker, but this comes at the cost of feeling obligated to break up with his girlfriend Audrey, a red-haired American girl whom he has kept secret from his family.

Directed by Geeta Patel, who follows her brother around on different blind dates, and even to a matrimonial convention that is exclusively for people with their last name, they use the process to explore themes of family and trying to find love through arranged marriage.

Their story is aided by scenes of animated narration, with plenty of culturally appropriate humour and fun plays on romantic comedies along the way, seeming almost like a real life version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  What follows is a charming and immensely heartwarming documentary that left me smiling, and I couldn’t think of a higher recommendation than that.  After premiering at Hot Docs in 2014, and becoming a runner up for the Audience Award, Meet the Patels is worth seeing now that it’s finally open in limited release, and has all the markings of a breakout hit.

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