Finding Fatimah Film Review
Get ready for a fun and quirky tale about the complexities of finding love, Finding Fatimah entertains and amuses with its fresh-thinking and loveable characters. A contemporary film that captures the perils of being single, set in Manchester, this contemporary urban tale will have you giggling in your seats at the absurdity of the events.
The two protagonists Shahid (Danny Ashok) and Fatimah (Asmara Gabrielle) are yearning to settle down, so turn to a Muslim dating app in their attempts to find The One.Neither of their journeys to find romance have so far run smoothly. Shahid, a small business owner and part-time comedian carries the stigma of being divorced, while Fatimah is a doctor with anger management issues. On paper, the pairing shouldn’t work, but the duo hit it off instantly and the viewer is taken on a humorous journey of them getting together, with the inevitable looming over their heads: Shahid having to declare his true marital status.
Director Oz Arshad keeps the tale fresh and relevant to Britain today, there’s references to Brexit and Snapchat while a sideline to the story is that one of our protagonists is also currently starring in a reality TV show. The first time audiences will be treated to a flick where religion plays such an integral aspect of the story; a first in the British Asian genre where ‘cultural expectations’ usually override religious values. Set to smash stereotypes, what’s most impressive is how ‘normalised’ religion is. The plot never shies away from Islam being a part of each character’s life, but it never becoming tedious: it’s simply who they are, and they aren’t afraid to bare their beliefs.
The leads are likable in this halal romantic comedy.Nina Wadia is great as the ‘cradle snatching’ widow. Nayna (Mandeep Dhillon) who plays the fiercely protective best friend of Fatimah. The charismatic Nayna delivers her dialogue with perfectly projected dramatic nuance. Ambreen Razia who plays Shahid’s sister Hafsah, is another delightful highlight of the film, particularly her feisty exchange in a hilariously brusque introduction to Shahid’s ex-wife. Shobna Gulati invites empathy as the long suffering wife of a doltish man whose gauche ambitions include social climbing and maintaining a rigid criteria (Pakistani only) for a prospective son-in-law. We have a hilarious cameo by BBC Asian Network Presenter Guz Khan, playing a gym bunny, and Abdullah Afzal the dopey son in law from Citizen Khan playing a candidate MP who wants to legalise drugs.
The film highlights the very real dilemmas when it comes to finding a partner as a British Muslim, from the stigma of being divorced to the scathing judgement of marrying outside ones culture or age bracket. We have the best of British talent helps make Finding Fatimah a ‘refreshing’ take on Muslim life.As independent British films go, Finding Fatimah is unlike others in recent years and it’s this originality that will cement its place in modern cinema, but rather than one to leave to watch until it makes the history books, catch it now, while the jokes are still fresh and story is unique. It is an accurate portrayal of Britain today? Finding Fatimah couldn’t be more 2017.