MEET THE PATELS LAFF Movie Review – Charming Look At Cross-Cultural Dating
One of the best surprises of the Los Angeles Film Festival was the charming documentary Meet The Patels. Follow Ravi Patel as he navigates being an Indian-American and dating in the modern world, it gets to the heart of how tricky dating can be, especially when you’re a child of immigrants with very strong cultural ties.
Ravi Patel and his sister Geeta are in their late twenties/early thirties and therefore, well past the time when their parents want some grandchildren. On their yearly trip to India to visit family, Ravi finally agrees to let them find him a girl. After years of dating in America, and falling for an All-American girl, Ravi decides he needs to give this whole Indian-dating-thing a try. The film then offers some amazing insight into just how modern Indian dating in America works.
With so many Patels in the states, they have their own old-school way of dating that involves parents, biodata (basically personality/dating resumes), and even a Patel convention! Ravi goes on a physical journey all throughout the country and even to Canada and most importantly, a metaphorical journey of self-discovery through these dates.
Filmed by Ravi’s sister Geeta and starring him and his whole family, the film allows us an inside look on his family that feels very real and unfiltered. He is genuinely looking for the one and trying to get over Aubrey, his All-American Ex. Because it’s not some film crew following him around, he’s honest and even Geeta gets involved and voices her opinion on his dating exploits.
In addition to the honest and raw video footage, many of the stories that weren’t filmed were filled in with adorable animation. So for memories from childhood and major moments from Ravi’s journey get a bit of color and break up the film nicely with this animation style. Another major asset to help make the film cohesive and have a through-line are the interviews of Ravi by Geeta. They’re just a brother and sister talking about their family and relationships, but help to flesh out what Ravi’s thinking as well as why her filming this documentary works so well.
Overall, it’s a charming film that gives viewers unfiltered access to this world of modern Indian dating and Ravi’s personal journey of growth and commitment.