Sundance Review: "It's A Wonderful Afterlife"


Indie films that one inevitably have to sit through at Sundance tend to be dark and dour, no matter how impressive they are. So to be able to see something as vibrant, fresh and original as "It's a Wonderful Afterlife", directed by the magnificent Gurinder Chadha ("Bend it like Beckham") is a breath of fresh air.


With references to Frank Capra, and even Brian de Palma's "Carrie", Chadha's latest film about an Indian woman living in London is a classic screwball romantic comedy with a twist in its story about the pressures on Indian women to get hitched. Set in West London, we have the indomitable Mrs. Sethi, a doting Punjabi mother obsessively seeking a marital match for her appealing, if slightly overweight, only daughter Roopie.


When a string of murders involving poisonous curries and chapati dough begins to rattle the neighborhood, things really start to heat up. As detectives and ghosts start to appear in the once ordered chaos of the Sethi household, Roopie's love life gets an injection of excitement, from both an Indian detective, working undercover, and even the fiancee of her best friend.


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