All in Good Time – Not Quite Enough

Eeshwar (Harish Patel), Courtesy of Mongrel Media

All in Good Time is a British dramedy that focuses on family relations, and unfortunately hinges on a very contrived and gimmicky premise. The film is based on a popular award winning stage play named “Rafta, Rafta”, which in turn was based off of the film The Family Way. It features a young newly married couple who live in Bolton’s Indian community, their close-knit family and how they deal with conflict in times of strife.

The film opens with Atul (Reece Ritchie) and Vina’s (Amara Karan) wedding, a massive and colourful party full of exuberant family members.  While the party rages on with Atul’s father, Eeshwar (Harish Patel), at the helm, the newly weds share quiet conversation, and anxiously await their wedding’s consummation. Sadly, once they get back to the home they now share with Atul’s parents, the exalted event does not go as planned. Paper thin walls and Eeshwar’s boorish, yet well-meaning behaviour puts a stop to any activity, despite Atul’s mother, Lopa’s (Meera Syal), fervent attempts to control her boisterous husband. Taken aback, but not defeated, the virginal couple decides to wait until their honeymoon. However, when they arrive at the airport the next day, they find their trip has been canceled. Forced to go back to married life in his parent’s home, Atul finds his father so distracting that he is unable to accomplish his husbandly duties. A series of unspoken thoughts and misinterpretations push this couple to the breaking point until a forced resolution is able to bring them back together.

Although on the surface this appears to be a film about the newly weds, the pivotal relationship in this movie is not between Vina and Atul, but rather Atul and Eeshwar. Atul feels crushed beneath his father, a man who is never happy unless he is the center of attention. Eeshwar refuses to give up the limelight for one second, even on his sons wedding day, where he steals the first dance and beats Atul in an arm wrestling match. His obnoxious lack of awareness is funny at first, but we quickly feel Atul and Lopa’s long suffering pain.

In fact, one of this film’s biggest flaws is that despite the time Vina and Atul spent with each other, I couldn’t find any reason why they got married. Although the actors had fairly good chemistry, it was hard to see why these two were even together. We learn nothing about their past, and what interests them in each other. When trouble strikes in the bedroom, Vina tries to help things along by secretly renting educational sex videos. This only makes Atul angry as he feels that her superior knowledge means that she has had previous experience. His lack of trust, unwillingness to listen and anger are incredibly off-putting. Judging by the way these two bicker and completely fail to share anything of emotional importance it’s a wonder that they even made it to the altar.

The film, of course, must have a happy ending, and accomplishes this by forcing a resolution on its characters.  Atul has a short heart to heart with Eeshwar, and magically overcomes his neurosis long enough to sweep Vina (who conveniently forgives him immediately) into his arms. They flee back to his parents house to make noisy love while the entire neighbourhood sits in rapt attention, listening to the cacophony of their lust. Atul and Vina’s own issues are never confronted, and seem to disappear completely in the throes of passion.

Although All in Good Time was occasionally funny, it ultimately fails to deliver a meaningful story.