LAFF 2014 Reviews: ‘Dear White People’ and ‘Meet the Patels’
The other two films I saw at the Los Angeles Film Festival both dealt with culture. The first one is a satire looking at racial identity at an elite University. And the second one is a documentary about a different way of finding love.
The title of Dear White People itself is bound to attract and also create controversy, but isn’t that the point of a satire? At the very least it will get people thinking.
The movie focuses on four black students at the prestigious Winchester University and each of their experiences integrating and dealing with their own racial identity. The story culminates to a “black-themed” party thrown by white students…
There are a lot of different ways Dear White People could have gone, but what I loved the most about it is that everything is not just black and white (pun not intended). Every single characters has layers and experiences things in their own ways. The movie doesn’t claim to have any answers, nor does it give you any. All it strives to do is make you think and make you laugh…while you think.
Some people will without a doubt get stuck on the title of the movie or miss the point entirely, but I think it’s one of the best movies of its kind. Director Justin Simien approached the subject with finesse and created a great piece of satire art.
The movie will be released to theaters on October 17th.
Ratings: 8 out of 10 stars
You can watch the trailer for Dear White People below.
The last movie I saw at the LAFF is the wonderful documentary, Meet The Patels, which follows LA-based actor Ravi Patel as he decides to let his parents find him the perfect Indian bride, when his own attempts at finding love have failed. He then starts a sort of dating tour across the US and along the way reflects on his life, culture and marriage.
Co-directed by Ravi himself and his sister Geeta, Meet The Patels shows gives us an authentic look at the family like only family could. We are plunged in the middle of the family and are given the key to explore their most intimate moments, thoughts and hopes.
Ravi wins us over within the first 5 minutes of the film by his candor and it’s a joy to see him navigate through all the different “tools” offered to him in order to find his bride. Geeta (who is not on screen) also has a powerful presence as she captures it all and asks the tough questions that drive the story forward. But of course the real stars of the film are their parents. It’s hard to describe how wonderful and captivating they are but as the time goes by and you learn more about them, you’ll fall in love with them.
Meet The Patels is a story about love, about family and about life. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and mostly it will leave you feeling happy for the rest of the day.
Ratings: 9 out of 10 stars
You can watch the trailer for Meet the Patels below.