- Movie Rating -

7 Days (2022)

| March 25, 2022

7 Days is a lovely romantic comedy that values its subject matter and pulls the blinders off of a tradition that most of us westerners are hard-wired to consider somewhat prehistoric.  The subject: Arranged marriages, a phrase that, with a knee-jerk reaction, makes you think of child brides, patriarchal tyranny and mandated unions based on anything but love.  This movie seems to exist for the purpose of chucking that notion right out the window.  Our view of arranged marriages tends to be bred from racial and cultural misunderstanding and a misappropriated view of exactly how it works.  I’ll admit, I learned something here.

Director Roshan Sethi is out to break our hardbound notions of the subject through the tale of two 20-ish Indian-American kids Ravi (co-screenwriter Karan Soni) and Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan) who are, from the very beginning, not right for one another.  Their union up to this point has been a long series of video chats that they’ve had with each other but mostly between their individual mothers.  From the moment they meet they strike the wrong note.  In the whirling maelstrom of the COVID-19 epidemic, he is the Felix to her Oscar, shocked by the home that she keeps (it’s a mess) and the habits that he observes (she drinks beer and scarfs down chicken).

What I like here is the approach.  Sethi modernizes the whole arrangement through the prism of e-dating.  More to the point, imagine if you went through match.com but had your mother set up the account.  Times being what they are, they meet for a picnic (aww!) at a reservoir that has dried up (oof!!).  One could hope that in this awkward state, that conversation could spark things, but Ravi is socially awkward, apologizes over and over and succeeds at making things worse.  The situation isn’t helped much when they duck into her apartment and a shelter-in-place mandate leaves them stuck together.  That’s when her unwholesome habits of drinking, eating chicken and leaving her vibrator just laying on the sink in the bathroom reveal themselves.

Of course, this union is just not going to happen, but the mandates of tradition as well as COVID leave them trapped.  What is special is that Soni and Viswanathan develop such a beautiful chemistry together in their connection of disconnection that what rises from an otherwise familiar series of rom-com shenanigans blossoms into a movie that is really very sweet.  Soni’s Ravi is the larger role – a nervous-nelly who recognizes tradition and the blistering realities of the pandemic, but Viswanathan is very good too, she is not just a good actor, she’s a very too re-actor.  I love her in the reaction shots.  When she isn’t talking, she’s listening, sizing up the moment.

What happens in the film’s third act felt a little less natural than what came before.  There is a dramatic turn that I didn’t necessarily find distraction, just kind of unnecessary.  I won’t give anything away but I’ll just say that I might have preferred a more life-goes-on ending.  But aside from that, this is a lovely film, sweet, charming and very modern.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2022) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy