Writer: Meera Syal (Screenplay) Meera Syal (Novel)
Starring: Chandeep Uppal, Anna Brewster, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ayesha Dharker
Plot: Meena, a 12-year-old living in a mining village in the English Midlands in 1972, is the daughter of Indian parents who’ve come to England to give her a better life. This idyllic existence is upset by the arrival in the village of Anita Rutter and her dysfunctional family. Anita is 14, blonde and beautiful – exactly what Meena thinks she wants to be. She becomes part of Anita’s world, but events do not run smoothly. Meena’s growing up – and that brings plenty of changes.
Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Sweet Coming of Age Tale
Story: Anita & Me starts as we meet Meena Kumar (Uppal) who lives in a small Midlands town, the daily routine is starting to drive Meena crazy with her parents Papa (Bhaskar) and Daljeet (Dharker) trying to make the life for the future.
Meena’s life takes a change when a new girl Anita (Brewster) arrives in town, which sees her coming out of her shell more, but getting caught in the middle of following her family’s traditions or becoming her own woman.
Thoughts on Anita & Me
Characters – Meena is a young Indian girl living in the Midlands, getting close to reach teenager years, with her always feeling out of place until she meets a new girl in town, one that treats her like one of the friends, while her parents are still trying to keep her driven into the traditions, she is left feeling more out of place than ever as she is torn between the two worlds. Anita is the girl that moves to town, she becomes best friends with Meena, showing her a more English approach of different things in life, teach Meena habits her parents would never have approved off, all while having her own secret. Papa and Daljeet are the parents of Meena that are trying to push her into following the family traditions, not liking her being friends with anyone outside of the family circle.
Performances – Chandeep Uppal in the leading role is great, showing how difficult growing up was for somebody different in a town and never understanding. In the supporting cast we have Anna Brewster being the friend works very well, with the bigger known actors in the family roles showing the strength needing in the key scenes.
Story – The story here follows a 12-year-old Indian girl living in the Midlands during the 1970s, as she becomes friends with a new girl in town, she is torn between following family traditions and wanting to be a growing teenager. This story does follow the traditions of a coming of age tale, we focus on an untapped market though, showing us how difficult being a young Indian girl, dealing with being different to the rest of the girls in the town, having to follow different traditions and dealing with racism without understanding just how series it is. We do only see the world through the eyes of Meera, who shows how an innocent point of view can see the more series issues in life, with everything coming together in a sweet style.
Comedy – The comedy in the film comes from seeing how Meera witnesses the world, we will laugh at certain things, while understand the pain bought on by others.
Settings – The film is set in one small Midlands town that sees how one young soon to be teenager is trying to adapt to growing up.
Scene of the Movie – Meera’s letter reaction.
Final Thoughts – This is a beautiful coming of age tale that shows us just how the British world changed with different cultures coming together in life, to give us a new look on life.
Overall: Coming Of Age with a Change.