Polite Society Parent Guide
With an entertainingly crazy plot and meticulously choreographed martial arts fights, this is a good choice for adults and teens looking for something a little different.
Parent Movie Review
Having washed out at art school, Lena Khan (Ritu Arya) believes she is a disappointment to her parents – until she catches the eye of Salim Shah (Akshay Khanna), a wealthy and successful physician. A month later, Lena and Salim are engaged, to the joy of her parents and the horror of her sister, Ria (Priya Kansara).
Ria is just as unconventional as Lena and is determined not to follow the professional career path prized by her Anglo-Pakistani community. Instead of becoming a lawyer or a doctor, Ria plans to become a stuntwoman in films. To that end, she takes rigorous martial arts classes and practices constantly, even creating a YouTube channel dedicated to her stunt routines.
When Ria learns of her sister’s engagement, she is incredulous. Unable to believe that Lena would give up art to move across the world, Ria sets out to first talk her sister out of the wedding and then to sabotage it…
Polite Society is a zanily manic film that often has an unhinged vibe because audiences can’t always be sure if Ria is a reliable interpreter of the events she sees. Ria is often full of rage, simmering just below the boiling point. That anger, combined with poor judgment and impulsive behavior, rob her of credibility just when she needs it most – when her sister is in peril.
It’s difficult to adequately describe Polite Society. It’s a comedy, a drama, an action flick, and a martial arts movie – and somehow it succeeds. Many films bog down or struggle from tonal confusion when they embrace multiple genres, but not Polite Society. It maintains its intensity, pacing, and emotion throughout the runtime and feels sincere, despite the fact that much of the tale is told with tongue firmly in cheek. This is not a film that takes itself seriously, but it takes entertainment seriously and that’s why it works. It’s funny, fast-moving, and built on a rock-solid sisterly relationship of love, hate, and loyalty.
Given the genre(s) it’s not surprising that there are content issues here, the most significant of which is violence. There are constant scenes of highly stylized violence, with lots of kicking, punching and throwing. Disturbingly, there are also some attempted strangulations, one of which is almost lethal. Profanity is represented with three dozen swear words and there are scenes of smoking and alcohol consumption. Content carefully comes in at a PG-13 level, but parents should be aware that the violence consumes lots and lots of the runtime.
I’m not a fan of violent movies and I usually get bored during fight scenes, but not this time. The stylized battles are colorfully kinetic and the blinged-up Pakistani wedding apparel makes the film more visually interesting than the average punch-‘em-up. The plot is comically nuts and the over-the-top villain simply adds to the fun. I wouldn’t recommend this film for kids but if you and your teens want something a crazy, different, and entertaining, Polite Society could work for you.Directed by Nida Manzoor. Starring Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Renu Brindle. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release April 28, 2023. Updated January 23, 2024
Watch the trailer for Polite Society
Rating & Content Info
Why is Polite Society rated PG-13? Polite Society is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong language, violence, sexual material, and some partial nudity
Violence: There are frequent scenes of martial arts violence, including kicking, punching, shoving, stomping, and tossing. People are seen with bloody injuries. Girls are bullied and physically threatened at school. There are multiple scenes of attempted strangulation, both manually or with cloth, one of which is nearly fatal. Characters bite each other while fighting. A woman is twice sedated against her will. There is an attempted kidnapping. A firearm is repeatedly discharged into the air. A character’s legs are hot waxed against her will: she is threatened with bikini waxing.
Sexual Content: There is reference to menstruation, pregnancy, and reproductive health. Comments are made about a man’s genitals. There is male buttock nudity in a locker room. A character fills condoms with lotion so they will look used and damage someone’s reputation. There is infrequent mild innuendo in conversation.
Profanity: There are approximately two dozen scatological curses and ten terms of deity in the movie. There is a single sexual expletive and a sexual hand gesture in the film. Crude slang terms are used for male genitals and for women.
Alcohol / Drug Use: People drink alcohol at social events. A woman is sedated against her will on two occasions. A main character smokes cigarettes.
Page last updated January 23, 2024
Polite Society Parents' Guide
Why is Ria so focused on preventing Lena’s wedding? What assumptions does she hold? How do her reasons evolve over the course of the movie? Why don’t people believe her when she tries to warn them?
What beliefs does your culture hold about what constitutes success? What are the social or familial consequences for choosing other paths?
Related home video titles:
Few things provide as much color and energy on the big screen as an Indian wedding. If you just can’t get enough, try watching Wedding Season, a story in which two single adults pretend to be each other’s dates to stop their parents from arranging marriages for them. Bride & Prejudice adapts Jane Austen’s classic 19th century English novel and sets the story in modern India. An Indian wedding kicks off a kidnapping and homicide in Murder Mystery 2. Jess Bhamra’s older sister is prepared to have a traditional Indian marriage, but Jess has other plans. In Bend It Like Beckham, she has to decide between pursuing her passion for soccer or following her parents’ dreams for her future. Indian Sweets and Spices has an unsatisfactory soapy plot but offers plenty of Indian food and fashion to ogle on the screen.