There’s really no reason (busy at work, having an actual social life; excuses, excuses) for it having taken me almost an entire month to write up the review of my most recent film watching for this project. I’ve clearly completely missed the deadline – given that I started it back in at the end of March/start of April last year – but I’m determined to finish it. After all I’ve got all these qualifying films in the house and it’s been a good way of making myself watch new things instead of constantly falling back on old favourites.
The tenth film on my list has been Nina’s Heavenly Delights, a light cross-cultural romantic comedy, set in Glasgow. I was recommended it under ‘lesbians and a happy ending’, which is far rarer than it should be, but sold on it ultimately by it being ‘happy lesbians in Glasgow’. Romantic comedies set in Glasgow are rare enough that I can’t actually think of another one off the top of my head never mind one that actually acknowledges that the place actually has ethnic diversity. Glasgow lays claim to being the home of Chicken Tikka Masala; a little acknowledgement and visibility for the sizeable Asian community wouldn’t go amiss. (Priya – a girl whose teen rebellion is sneaking out to her Highland dancing lessons – describing Sanjay dismissively as a ‘bam’ amused me hugely, more Glasgow vernacular in cinema please.) One of the main reasons I wanted to do this project was that films give an insight to the country they were made by and I really enjoy getting little peaks into different cultures and countries. However, in this case it was really nice to see a snapshot of a familiar culture, a view of a place I know and recognise.
The film manages to give space to its minor characters as well as its central ones. Nina’s siblings have equally complex issues going on in their lives and relationships, and the older generation have their own simmering history and hopes that have everything and nothing to do with their children. Also there’s a rather fun subplot about Nina’s best friend Bobbi – a flamboyant drag queen whose role as dispenser of world weary/sage advice is tempered by being more loved up with his new boyfriend than he’s entirely willing to admit – and his quest to win a starring role in an upcoming Bollywood production, soon to be filmed in Scotland. Also, Lisa isn’t just a cipheresque romantic interest, she has her own motivations and insecurities while being deeply entangled in the lives of the whole family long before Nina make her return.
It is not, by any means, a film to change the world. It certainly obeys and uses quite a few clichés/conventions of romantic comedy – my personal favourite, being able to play ‘spot the well known British actor/actress’, Art Malic’s character owns a restaurant called The Jewel in the Crown – that can sometimes create moments that feel a bit contrived, but nonetheless retains a certain charm. Despite dealing with cross cultural romance, integration and queer issues, the film wears its politics very lightly. Focusing instead on relationships, especially familial ones and the tension between wanting to be happy and fulfilled yourself and wanting to keep/make your parents happy. It doesn’t shy away from the consequences of following ones heart, both on oneself and on those around you, but still manages to leave the viewer with a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
Additionally, I’d pay good money to see Love in a Wet Climate if it were a real film.