“In a Nutshell”® rating: 9/10.
“We Are Family” is an official remake of the Stepmom (1998). In fact, it is an almost word by word copy, and that is not a bad thing, since Stepmom was a fairly decent movie.
[Digression: I am for copying all good things and translating all good works of art into all possible media outlets and languages – so much so that I often fantasize translating the Essential Works of Pablo Neruda into Hindi. Other than the minor problem of me not having any background in literature or poetry, there are 3 other problems with that fantasy: (i) I am conversational, not fluent, in Spanish. (ii) I am conversational, not fluent, in Hindi; and (iii) I have never translated anything before.]
[Oh well, that is not my only fantasy that isn’t coming true.]
Ok, back to Stepmom. The essential line of Stepmom is when Julia Roberts says: “My fear is that they (the kids) will miss you at every important moment in life”, to which Sarandon replies, “And mine is that they won’t.” When you include a movie’s ten second précis in the local adaptation as well, at that point, you have done a VERY good job of copying all relevant details.
Ok, back to We are Family. All performances are very good. Kajol as usual gives a tour d’force. But thankfully, she doesn’t dominate the movie. Kareena is weak at times, but for most part, she does it quite well. The parts where she is weak (in acting) is where the character is in control, since that is not what the script is implying. Arjun Rampal handles the presence of superstars Kajol and Kareena very well, and comes across as a major acting force. Child artists give commendable performances. The boy’s expression of fear and subdue when approaching the mother’s deathbed is priceless. How does an emotionally aware child approach a dying or a dead mother?
So, what about the social issues? Without taking a stance on divorce, the movie’s message to the kids is that they are loved. In some cases they are loved by someone who is their parents’ partner. More people that can love the children, more perspectives and guidance they can get. That is important. Thanks to the director for conveying the message of Stepmom to the letter. One question though – movie setting was Australia, not India. Is Bollywood ready to talk about this in India, happening to Indian people, but not show happening this to Indian people in India? Will Bollywood need a second adaptation, such as “Hum Family Hain” that will be a copy of “We Are Family” set in India?
Where does this movie suck? All dialogues are canned. Some look natural, some don’t. In situations filled with drama, no one stutters a single time. No one has a false start. No one has a start and then gets lost in words. No one is caught speechless. No one tries to say something and checks themselves. Surreal. A whopping C+ to dialog writes. No one in the movie except the teenager girl says something that they regret. Actually, let us make that C+ a D.
Songs. The songs are nothing to criticize or write home about. I wouldn’t change the channel if any of them came on the radio, but I won’t be springing for its LP.
Overall. The overall rating is positive. In a nutshell rating: “9/10”.