Half-Girlfriend Review (No Spoilers): Surprisingly Pleasant Little Romance!

Angie forced us all to watch it for her birthday, and then by golly I ended up enjoying it! So much so that I want to write a real review.

Don’t get too high expectations. This won’t blow your mind with the quality, or make a huge social statement, or any of that. But it won’t make you frustrated or angry either. And it just barely crosses the threshhold between “snark watch” and “sincerely enjoy watch”. The reviews ripped it apart, but really it is pretty pleasant and harmless. The last quarter is a bit ridiculously melodramatic, and the Bill Gates cameo is silly, but that’s really the only complaint. Our hero and heroine are nice people who I like and like seeing together, the songs are pleasant, and the plot has a lot of plot to it in the best Hindi film tradition.

Half Girlfriend (2017) - IMDb

Watch this movie if you like romances and pleasant people. And also watch this movie if you like feminism treated as a casual every day thing, not a Big Speech. And watch this movie if you like Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor.

Also watch this movie if you like Masala. Like, FOR REAL Masala, not just superficial. People say “Oh, I like good old-fashioned Masala”, and then they say “ew, yuck, this film goes from a light rom-com to a social issue thing to a melodrama, gross, what is up with that?” THAT’S MASALA!!!! That’s the thing you said you liked!!!!

This movie is definitely “masala”. Not in a “there is a comic interlude” way or a “people wear bright colors” way, but in a “there are many different kinds of emotions and narratives combined in one film” way. We start out pure classic melodrama, then flashback to sort of light charming love, then move into social drama, then a sudden sharp drop into melodrama again. It doesn’t hang together fully, it doesn’t make sense, but it is not supposed to make sense. It’s just supposed to entertain you.

Something I really appreciate, that I think you can only get with these light no expectations kind of movies, is common sense progressiveness. The characters aren’t progressive because of a speech or a big message, but just because it makes sense for who they are. It feels honestly more realistic that way, and I like them better, and the story has that little touch of relatability that I usually miss. There’s no concern about pleasing the censors or having a “good message” and there few giving values to the characters that don’t make sense for who they are. It’s just real to what they would be in real life.

Also surprisingly real is the class issues. Rich girl-poor boy is one thing. But this film mixes that together with regional differences, urban versus rural, and educational differences. Most movies don’t bother with that level of complexity, probably because they feel like they can’t fully address it in a short run time. But this movie says “fine, so we don’t fully address it! We can still deal with how it affects our characters at this one place in this one time and not sweat the rest”.

So yeah, I recommend this film! Assuming you like rom-coms, assuming you can handle Masala tone changes, assuming you are interested in class issues, this is gonna be a good one for you.

Also, Shraddha and Arjun both give good performances, which isn’t a guarantee for either of them.

5 thoughts on “Half-Girlfriend Review (No Spoilers): Surprisingly Pleasant Little Romance!

  1. “Pleasant and harmless” is how I like my movies 🙂

    I was thinking that this movie is similar to Raabta – a lot of people didn’t even watch it but love to talk how terrible it was.

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    • Yes! And yes the plot looks bad just written out, but that’s the point of actually SEEING THE MOVIE!!!! Don’t just read the plot, look at how they present it.

      On Tue, Apr 13, 2021 at 7:54 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

        • I feel you, Angie. I really enjoyed Raabta and Half-Girlfriend and yet can’t stand Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. And I was told the same thing.

          Like

          • OMG Ae Dil Hai Mushkil – half baked idea completely destroyed by cheap melodramatic ending. “There is nothing like the power of unqredited love” just give me a break.

            Liked by 1 person

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