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Simply astonishing: a documentary about marriage, family, romance, and cultural assimilation that keeps a light touch without veering into mockery, caricature, or broad comedy of the record-scratch variety. Ravi Patel is an almost-30 actor living in Los Angeles with his sister Geeta. His parents (both born in India) want him to marry an Indian girl, preferably another Patel. Ravi wants the same thing: he loves his family, even his extended family. He loves where he comes from, the culture that produced him (which is not to say that he can’t poke fun at it). The only trouble is, the only girl he’s ever loved or dated is white, and he can’t bear to tell his parents about it. Eventually, the strain proves so great that he breaks up with her. That’s when Geeta picks up her camera and starts filming her brother’s adventures in wife-hunting, Indian-style. What follows is a detailed tour of a subculture that still believes in the principles (if not all the practices) behind matrimonial matchmaking. Ravi is sent on a nationwide tour of prescreened dates, then on an internet dating spree, then through the gauntlet of Indian marriage season, and finally, to the Patel Matrimonial Convention. It’s a little bit fascinating and a little bit funny, but the real revelation here is the intimate portrait of a family struggling to resolve a problem without forsaking the love that binds and blesses them all. (2014) — Matthew Lickona

Rated NR | 1 hour, 28 minutes
View Trailer SDAFF 2014: A few picks

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