FOCUS FEATURES (2021)
Director: Emerald Fennell
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, and Connie Britton
7 Days (2021) is the feature film debut of director Roshan Sethi. He co-wrote the screenplay with one of the leads, Karan Soni. The film is a COVID-set romantic comedy with two excellent characters exploring the concept of arranged marriage and traditional gender roles. It may still feel too early for some to dive into COVID-related stories, but expect many to dominate the large and small screens in the coming months. However, this one really works and utilizes the quarantine premise in a way that feels reminiscent of a ‘bottle episode’ - that trope in TV shows where the characters can’t leave a space that was usually done as a budget-saving exercise.
The two characters meet for a picnic at a location that Ravi (Soni) has picked, out only to find out that this space was much nicer in the pictures. Fortunately, Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan) is very kind and accommodating on this date and doesn’t judge him too harshly. Not long into this disastrous and awkward date, a shelter-in-place warning and reports on the lockdown bombard their phones with notifications. Rita is a kind person and offers to allow Ravi to stay on her couch. It doesn’t take long for the true Rita to show up and really start the conversation.
Viswanathan really broke out in Blockers (2018), and continues to impress with her comedic chops. However, it is important to note that her range as an actress goes beyond comedy, and she gives a tremendously complex performance in this film. Soni became a familiar face as Dopinder in Deadpool (2016) and has done many roles and commercials since then. Here, he gets to still be funny - but he really brings a ton of heart to this performance.
In films depicting arranged marriages or relationships - whether the fault of the viewer projecting, or the implication by the filmmakers - this style of marriage is portrayed as odd, archaic, and/or impractical. This film brings the idea that it could be all those things. It also posits that it could be perfectly sensible, as every relationship ultimately boils down to a series of choices. The love depicted and debated in this movie works really well and managed to bring several tears along with many laughs.
7 Days is available to watch from June 11 at 6:00 p.m. until June 23 at Tribeca at Home. It will hopefully be available to watch in other forms at some point as well, but only time will tell. In my opinion, this is a film worth watching. I was on board at the premise - initially apprehensive that it may not click for me - and then found myself absolutely in love with it by its end. 7 Days earns the Must See rating.
June 10th 2021