ALL IN GOOD TIME
UK, 2012, 98 minutes, Colour.
Reece Ritchie, Amara Karan, Harish Patel, Meera Syal.
Directed by Nigel Cole.
All in Good Time is an adaptation of a 1960s played by Bill Naughton, The Family Way. It has been transferred to the 21st century, to an Indian community in Bolton, Lancashire.
The film opens with an Indian wedding with all the trimmings – but very much in the English town. The point of the title is that, with the intrusion of the hero’s father, a jovial and drinking man, and the closeness of the rooms in the house, bedrooms and bathroom, the marriage is not consummated. This leads to self-doubt on the part of the husband, upset on the part of the bride who has been keeping herself for her marriage, concern on the part of both sets of parents, and gossip around the town.
Reece Ritchie shows the anxiety of the young husband, his tension with his father, the support of his mother. Amara Karan is very attractive as the bride. Veteran Indian performers, Harish Patel as the father and Meera Syal, writer and performer, especially the grandmother in the Kumars at number 42, offer some drama as well as cause for reflection for the audience. This involves the father taking his best friend to Blackpool on the couple’s honeymoon – and possible consequences for the wife, the husband, and the paternity of the son.
The film captures the atmosphere of the Indian community, its place in English society, the traditions from India in the contemporary world – leading to comedy as well as pathos and drama.
The film was directed by Nigel Cole, who directed such comedies as Saving Grace and Calendar Girls.
1. An entertaining film about marriage in an English setting, Indian setting? Lancashire, the town of Bolton? The background of India, culture, traditions and rituals? Transplanted to the United Kingdom, surviving but changing? Local traditions?
2. Film based on a play, parallels with The Family Way and its adaptation to the 21st century?
3. The title, marriage, the fulfilment and consummation?
4. Bolton, the town, the buildings, the Indian streets, homes, ordinary and wealthy, the Indian cinema, the hotel, the airport – a feel for Bolton, Lancashire?
5. The musical score, English traditions, Indian traditions, Hollywood and the cinema? The glimpses of the films in the clips?
6. The opening, the wedding, the ceremony, the happy couple, Atul and Vina? The Patel family, well-to-do, letting their daughter go? Atull’s family, the serious mother, the boisterous father, his drinking, talking, the guests at the wedding, the friends? The effect on the couple?
7. Their going home, the small room, the adjacent room of the parents, the shared bathroom? The bed? The father, his intruding?
8. The consummation, the awkwardness, Vina wanting the first night to be special, her virginity? The various interruptions, the father, the effect on Atul? The non-consummation? The growing gossip, the women across the street and working at the cinema? Vina and her visit to her mother, telling the truth, the Patel’s visiting the other family, the discussions?
9. Atul, the clashes with Vina, the role of his parents, the room, the fights, going to the hotel, that not being successful, sleeping at the cinema? The manager and his crass comments about Vina, Atul and his anger and leaving?
10. His mother, sensible, supporting her son? The discussion with the Patels, mocking her husband for taking his best friend on the honeymoon to Blackpool, her admiration for the friend – and the audience realising that Atul might be his son?
11. The father, his drinking, boisterous, his wife telling the story of his life in India, the struggle, coming to the United Kingdom, the story of his friendship, the honeymoon – and the video flashbacks?
12. Atul and the clash with his father, his father unable to talk seriously with him, offering a drink? Atul, the middle of the night, the exasperation? The final stance of his father, urging on his son, proud of him, and Atul going to pursue Vina?
13. Vina at her home, Atul arriving, the apology, the conversation, the sexual consummation – and the neighbours’ and everybody’s reaction? Atul’s brother?
14. The decision to go to Blackpool, the brother, the friend and the cab, the failure of the travel agency and their initial intentions to go to Goa? The farewell by the father, seeing the image of his friend in his son’s waving farewell? His puzzle about the resemblance? A rueful ending, his wife’s apology?
15. 21st century English look at a family, situations, parents, limits, Indian background, the community, love, marriage, consummation hopes?