MIFF: Margarita With A Straw Review


MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW: Reviewed by Maria Dunne

(100 mins, directed by Shonali Bose). Premiering at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) through Next Gen.

“An Unexpected Tale of Love in New York” – Maria Dunne

If I had to sum up this movie in one word I would say this movie was unexpected.

 It was unexpected in many ways. The premise of it was pretty simple enough. A coming of age story about a girl moving to New York with cerebral palsy. Not only having to overcome the stigma given by her disability (calling her “it” for example) but growing up in a strict Indian family which contrasted with Laila searching for freedom and opportunities.

Instead of focusing on her disability the director instead makes it only a fragment of her introducing her to the audience without indication that she is disabled. It is the same with other minor characters such as Khanum showing her sexuality as just aspect of her. At this moment at the start of the film we only see a family orientated youth with a nice sense of humour. This removes a layer of hyper sensitivity and stigma against her. The audience is able to see her as she is, an everyday girl.

Laila is strong willed, funny and optimistic. She is sometimes a bit naive but that is what makes her relatable. She is extremely likeable as she bumbles around New York.

The biggest challenge Laila faced during the film was feeling like she belonged. She searched for this throughout the film. She is curious about love and her own sexuality. She thinks the way to belong is by being loved by people. Resulting in her getting laid more than the average movie.

In the end however, Laila learns to love herself without asking for approval of others. She accepts her faults and the mistakes she has made and toasts herself with a Margarita with a straw.

Friendship, romance, love, loss, New York, comedy, India. This film is a sweet and heart-warming tale that will be relatable to anyone who ever felt like they don’t belong.

If you want to check out this film or any others check out the Next Gen film program done by the Melbourne International Film Festival. They have movies for young adults from around the world that can help broaden your view. 

The Melbourne International Film Festival runs from 30th July until 16th August 2015.

For more information visit http://miff.com.au/program/film/margarita-with-a-straw 

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