I came home the other night and the first thing my wife said to me was, "I just saw the greatest little movie on Netflix."
Okay, I'll bite. She then went on to tell me about a film called, Meet the Patels, a documentary about one man and his mission to find a spouse. You may be thinking, "That's been done to death," and in some respects, you're right. But this film is more than a simple "boy seeks girl, boy pursues girl, girl catches boy" story.
The title, Meet the Patels is appropriate for many reasons. Ravi Patel and his sister Geeta introduce us to a culture that's both American and Indian. The siblings have lived their entire lives in America. Their parents immigrated before they were born. The children live in both cultures, growing up as Americans, but retaining many of the customs of their parents.
As Ravi's 30th birthday approaches, the pressure to find a wife and get married only increases. We learn through the film much of Indian culture, how children find spouses both in India and America. I found if fascinating. And the pace of the film kept us rooting for the film's main character. Will he succeed? Will the cultural differences prove too strong to produce a happy ending?
It's a stylistic film with interviews, animation, and handicam shots that were endearing. I will not give away the ending, only to say that by the end of the film, we have (at least, a little bit...) see what it's like to grow up in such a family-centered existence. It's not flashy, smutty, or too preachy (I thought...). It's just a simple story of a man and his sister letting us know what it's like to be a Patel. And when the credits roll, I feel I know at least a little bit more than I did before, and a lot more about the Patels.