A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Explores the search for a lifetime partner in marriage, and compares and contrasts the traditional Indian approach to marriage (and how that has evolved in recent years) with contemporary American marriage.
Positive Role Models
While often exasperated and at odds with his parents and their adherence to traditional Indian customs, Ravi ultimately celebrates Indian culture. The movie provides non-Indian viewers a unique perspective and opportunity for understanding.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Documentary uses one of the racier scenes from Dirty Dancing between Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey to make a point.
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Upon discovering that he has received a parking ticket, Ravi almost says "f--k," but stops himself halfway.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine drinking. Cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Meet the Patels is a 2014 documentary in which an Indian-American actor on the verge of turning 30 receives help from his parents and extended family in finding a wife. The movie explores Indian culture, how traditional "arranged marriages" are practiced today, and how such arrangements contrast with American approaches to dating, romance, and the search for a life partner. While Ravi is often shown frustrated and exasperated with his parents, his extended family, and how traditional Indian culture clashes with his American upbringing, the documentary ultimately shows a love and appreciation for Indian culture and tradition. Wine drinking in some scenes, incidental cigarette smoking. One of the racier scenes in Dirty Dancing is used to contrast American and Indian depictions of sexuality in media. Ravi almost says "f--k" upon receiving a parking ticket. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Meet the Patels is a unique and often funny documentary exploring one man's search for love as he straddles two cultures with two very different approaches to finding the perfect life partner. What especially works about it is that, no matter how exasperated family members become with each other, it's all done out of a sense of love and a desire for happiness. While it more or less follows the structure of a fictional romcom, it's the only romcom where the matchmaking is replaced by the possibility of an arranged marriage. The arguments in favor of arranged marriages as made by Ravi's elders come through in a way that makes sense to non-Indian viewers.
Where Meet the Patels falls short is that it becomes redundant after a while. After yet another lecture from the parents about how Ravi needs to get married, it's hard not to scream, "OK, we get it!" at the screen. It's also worth noting that the "happily ever after" ending isn't quite what ended up happening in real life, and while the actual ending seems as "happily ever after" as the movie ending, it demands, at the very least, a "Where Are They Now?" epilogue. The different endings reveal the problem in adhering too closely to a "romcom" plot structure when dealing with reality.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.