The interludes illustrated with simple black-and-white drawings work brilliantly to convey the emotional intent behind such moments while preserving the family’s privacy. This is where Ravi’s parents are from, and in Gujarat, Patels marry other Patels—it’s not incest, it’s more of a “caste thing,” Ravi says, in which eligible singlets pair up with others generally within the same 50-square-mile tract of land. This would make the odds better that they shared Ravi’s values as passed down by his parents. During the India trip, and in meeting with his extended family, Ravi decides to do whatever it takes to find a wife. With each date, Ravi can’t help but compare the women to his ex-girlfriend, which leads to some very raw interactions between Ravi and his parents. This isn’t one of those documentaries that’s going to change the world or our understanding of it, although the insights into Indian culture are fascinating. Ravi fills out his “biodata”—an infosheet for making matches—that asks detailed, pertinent questions about such “values” as skin tone, caste and religion, replete with headshots and resumes tailored for potential relationships. Ideally, according to the film, the lighter the skin tone the better, but these dating qualifiers are casually brushed aside, and Ravi and Geeta miss a pretty obvious opportunity to delve further into prejudices within the Indian culture in terms of race, religion and social status, especially coming from a film that explicates its cultural differences quite overtly. With that, Meet the Patels is a journey of self-discovery, but it’s not Ravi’s alone. Many of the candidates live all over the country and Ravi, being a struggling actor, doesn’t exactly have an endless bank account. In lighthearted voiceover (which runs throughout the film), Ravi likens his now-existential trip to find himself to Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, Eat, Pray, Love: “I was that girl. “Meet the Patels,” a documentary directed by first-generation Indian-American siblings Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel, is often riotously funny. Add to that the pressure of one's family to get married and have kids and it falls under the… Genre: Comedy, Romance, Documentary.

Fresh out of a breakup with his American girlfriend and freaked out that he’s almost 30 and single, Indian American Ravi Patel goes on a family vacation to India with his head and heart spinning. However, it is the kind of movie that will put a smile on your face and remind you that there is nothing better in this life than your family, however you chose to define it. Directors: Geeta V. Patel, Ravi V. Patel Writer: Ravi V. Patel, Geeta V. Patel, Billy McMillin, Matthew Hamachek Starring: Ravi V. Patel, Geeta V. Patel, Champa V. Patel, Vasant K. Patel, Audrey Alison Wauchope Release Date: September 11, 2015.

However, having parents that exasperate their children (and vice versa) is pretty much universal and the love and affection in this family is clearly universal. However his father is very well off and offers to purchase air fare for a cross-country dating tour. Instead, the film features animation care of Powerhouse Animation Studios to recreate such charged moments, with Ravi providing NPR-like narration. She also inserts herself into the film when necessary, often heard but not seen. The crux of the film lies within Ravi’s (and, it’s implied, many Indian Americans’) life crisis: The former investment banker-turned-actor/comedian is nearly 30 and still single, which sends him—and his traditional Indian mom and dad, Champa and Vasant—into panic mode. REASONS TO STAY: Gets a little bit monotonous in the middle. NEXT: A Faster Horse.

The family puts all its emotional baggage front-and-center, so out of respect for their parents, Ravi and Geeta keep some of the most delicate moments off-camera—Keeping Up with the Kardashians this is not. Christine N. Ziemba is a Los Angeles-based freelance pop culture writer and regular contributor to Paste. TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Gujarat, the Indian state that Vasant and Champa Patel were from, also was the home state of Gandhi. He characterizes them as the happiest couple that he knows and they certainly seem to be very loving and very happy together. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! ( Log Out / 

Struck with how overwhelmingly happy the marriages are of his Patel family and friends, and with the help of his legendary matchmaker mother and life advice spouting father, Ravi decides to embark on a worldwide search for another American Patel just like him. © 2020 Paste Media Group. Learn how your comment data is processed. Metacritic: 70/100. Next, we follow Ravi on his dating frenzy, in which his parents put their networking skills into overdrive.

Starring: Ravi V. Patel, Geeta V. Patel, Champa V. Patel, Vasant K. Patel, Audrey Alison Wauchope Release Date: September 11, 2015. All Rights Reserved. FAMILY VALUES: A few mildly dirty words and thematic content. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. Nothing seems to work. Ravi is desperate to find love and is willing to do whatever it takes. Add to that the pressure of one’s family to get married and have kids and it falls under the category of “how is this even possible?”. While the movie drags a bit in the middle as we watch Ravi get more and more frustrated with his lack of success, the end of the movie in which Ravi and his family reach an understanding is actually very touching. Which is when the purview of the film grows, becoming an eye-opening examination of a particular plot of Indian culture (namely, the state of Gujarat). MPAA Rating:PG (for thematic elements, brief suggestive images and incidental smoking), Screenwriters:Matthew Hamachek, Billy McMillin, Geeta V. Patel, Ravi V. Patel, Starring:Ravi V. Patel, Geeta V. Patel, Champa V. Patel, Vasant K. Patel, Audrey Alison Wauchope. (2015) Documentary (Alchemy) Ravi Patel, Geeta Patel, Champa V. Patel, Vasant K. Patel, Meredith Philpott, Audrey Allison Wauchope. Meet the Patels can be rough around the edges, but Geeta, who’s directed the documentary war thriller Project Kashmir and is behind upcoming action film Mouse, almost seems to be employing certain techniques—cinéma vérité perhaps?—on purpose to lend the film the tone of an intimate home movie. Directed by Geeta Patel and Ravi Patel Finding one's soul mate is hard enough in this modern world.

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