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Darlings Movie Review

A Satirical Representation Of Love and Violence in a Wedding

by TST Team
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Story:

Badru (Alia Bhatt) ignores all the warning signs in their relationship because of her unwavering love for her husband Hamza (Vijay Varma). Additionally, her mother’s (Shefali Shah) repeated cautions go unheeded. The young wife, who comes from a modest family, keeps holding out hope for a better tomorrow until things go a little too far.

Review :

“You can do anything in life if you can go to a restaurant or the movies by yourself.” However, women have been socialized to think that being the focus of society’s scrutiny would be preferable to being in a turbulent, poisonous relationship. Surprisingly, having an abusive marriage still has higher social standing than not having one. The film, co-written by Parveez Sheikh and directed by debutant Jasmeet K. Reen, focuses on patriarchy and domestic abuse (DV) within the socio-psychological context of the lower middle class. Two women—a mother and a daughter—find their own heaven in hell in Mumbai, where the wealthy and less fortunate coexist and resilience is strong. Even though there are threatening clouds all around them, they manage to provide their own sunlight. They make the most of their limited resources while laughing in the face of hardship.

She devotedly prepares an omelet for him the following morning, despite the fact that Hamza frequently beats Badru black and blue while intoxicated or motivated by unjustified wrath. He apologizes to his “darlings,” and she gladly accepts their forgiveness. The cycle keeps going. She reminds herself that since theirs is a love marriage, arguments like these and abuse like this must be commonplace. But a tragic event makes her reevaluate her choices in life and her opinions of her cunning husband. Violence breeds violence, but can you be set free by retaliation? Who is the genuine victim in this situation—the one who responds with dubious means or the person who normalizes violence in the name of love?

Darlings aren’t quite a dark comedy or a twisted suspenseful thriller, in contrast to the trailer. The story of an abuser taking advantage of his spouse in a man vs woman conflict is presented in the movie in a chronological, straightforward manner. The narration and editing could have used some improvement, despite the topic at hand and the insights being profound. The entire movie is shot in a small space (a pretty large Chawl room), and because of this, it lacks tension and is more of a tedious drama than a riveting domestic noir. The climax leaves an opportunity for reflection and feels morally ambiguous. The irony of a Mehendi artist painting a blushing bride while seeing an abusive marriage take place next door, or of Hamza being handcuffed and being made to peel vegetables by a newly hardened wife—and other such subtleties—are expertly depicted.

Without Shefali and Alia, Darlings would not be the gripping case study on domestic violence that it is today. The exceptional performances and chemistry of the two women more than make up for the occasional slow pace. Whether it’s heartbreaking, emotional parts, or tougher scenes made lighter with subtle humor, the mother and daughter’s friendship sets the tone for this movie. They seamlessly adopt the personas of their characters, draw strength from one another’s enthusiasm as performers, and carry you along with their narrative. The highlight of this brave domestic drama that exposes male privilege, physical and emotional abuse, and intimidation is how, after being let down by the men in their lives, they choose not to see themselves as victims. There are many reasons to see this movie, but Shefali and Alia’s outstanding performances are at the top of the list.

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