Chopsticks Review (No Spoilers): A Pleasant Little Film, No Songs But a Great Heroine

I finally watched it! Over a year after it released on Netflix and most other people saw it! But whatever, in this strange world of sliding release dates and straight to streaming products, I am still giving it a “no spoilers” and a “spoilers” separate review.

I am even more impressed with Mithila Palkar than I was before. In Little Things, she creates a complicated real character with all kinds of motivations and questions and so on, and she makes it look like she isn’t doing anything at all. It’s the kind of performance that could be a one off, something about this role and this show lets her be her best. But then in this movie she plays a totally different kind of character, and it is a totally different kind of movie, and it is equally good.

Chopsticks (2019) - IMDb

Part of it is just that she does the work. This movie has three leads, Mithila and Abhay Deol and Vijay Raaz. Vijay and Abhay, of course, are long established as brilliant actors. Maybe that’s why in this movie it just doesn’t feel like they are working as much, trying as hard to charm the audience and makes us feel sympathy for them. I end up just not being as interested in them as I am in our Mithila heroine.

Luckily, Mithila really is the heroine! This is her story, for sure, and everyone else is just navigating around her. That’s super refreshing! On top of it being a female protagonist, it’s not even a romance! It’s a slice of life comedy kind of film, and girls almost never get to be the leads in slice of life comedies. It’s like Queen, but lighter. Or Manmarziyaan, without the romance. Or Akira, without the violence.

It’s not really an “Indian” movie, there are no songs, but more importantly, there isn’t enough story. It’s less than two hours and it feels less than two hours, no side characters and subplots, no romance, no family drama, none of that extra fun stuff I expect in my Indian films. It is definitely an Indian setting, it’s not just a Western film with people speaking Hindi, the gender dynamics and class dynamics and all the rest are distinctly Indian. But the structure of the narrative is not, and the filming style is not.

So, if you want to watch a pleasant okay comedy with a female lead who is really interesting, this is a good film to watch. If you want to watch a movie with a great Abhay Deol or Vijay Raaz performance, this is not it. If you want to watch a movie with a great romance, this is not it. If you want to watch an Indian film that feels Indian, this is not it.

6 thoughts on “Chopsticks Review (No Spoilers): A Pleasant Little Film, No Songs But a Great Heroine

  1. I started it and then didn’t go back. Now, I’m going to watch it. On another note: I watched a British show called Scarborough (sp) which was supposed to have more than one season but it doesn’t so it ends cliff hanger ish but it is a good watch.

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    • It’s a movie I would recommend finishing partly because it is so very short. Maybe not worth 3 hours of your time, but worth less than 2 hours of time.

      Oh, and Scarborouch looks fun! the same team made another show, Benidorm? I haven’t seen it or anything, but it’s got a ton of seasons, so if you want more of the same thing, maybe you should check it out?

      On Fri, Nov 20, 2020 at 8:53 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I like this approach to filmmaking where the filmmakers don’t bind themselves to a genre(like the Hindi cinema===== Western cinema divide),however their issues remain rooted in reality.After one point songs in Hindi films are redundant,especially of it doesn’t cater to a setting.
    This film felt a bit muddled in its plot,but characters were good.

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    • Yes, I’ve watched movies where it felt like a Western film set in India, this one was kind of in between, an Indian feel even though the structure was western.

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  3. I was gonna tell you that I watched this movie sometime last year but I checked my letterboxd and apparently I saw this in April but that feels so long ago.

    I didn’t really like it much and I think you’re right that I probably didn’t really enjoy it because it didn’t feel like an indian movie. Also I remember going into the movie expecting a romance between Mithila and Abhay Deol and that just wasn’t the kind of movie it was.

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    • Yeah, it’s an okay movie, but maybe a one time watch. Probably in 6 months I will barely remember when I saw it either.

      On Sat, Nov 21, 2020 at 7:14 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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