The setting for this utterly unique romcom is COVID-19 pandemic America, starring two unlikely romantic leads in Miracle Workers co-stars Geraldine Viswanathan and Karan Soni, and directed by The Resident television series writer-producer Roshan Sethi who makes his memorable directing debut.
Ravi (Soni) meets Rita (Viswanathan) for a first date, orchestrated by their strict Indian families who are desperate for a match and an arranged marriage to follow suit. One half is far more experienced in the dating game than the other, and the setting for their first date is less than ideal. Nerves play a massive factor, before both get news that America is going into lockdown and they need to get home before this happens. Unfortunately for mommy’s boy Ravi, he cannot return straightaway to his matriarch and must reluctantly stay with Rita at her ranch-styled home, after his transportation home is cancelled.
What happens next with wonderfully hilarious effect is each lovebird’s true personality comes to light, with both realising lockdown could actually mean a prison sentence. However, the solitude forces both to compromise and get to know each other – warts and all. When tragedy strikes, the ripple effect brings them closer together, allowing feelings to flourish that neither would never have expected.
Like witnessing a car-crash situation unfold from the start, Soni and Sethi’s super witty but downplayed script is often as sharp and as it is unpredictable along the way. Wickedly delicious, it charters relationship territory with amusing effect. Viswanathan and Soni use their natural screen affinity to nurture their characters’ acrimonious beginnings. Like watching a professional tennis rally, the actors rift off each other effortlessly, as this original 21st century comedy of errors is accentuated by religious, cultural and viral pressures.
As cover and manners are blown, the dialogue of second half of the film is not as crisp as in the first. However, events do begin to question what is reality, mimicking the lockdown mind of its captives as they serve their time and seek ways to be productive and address their own shortcomings and indoctrinated belief systems. This is where the narrative does become intriguing though, as well as seeing how the characters change.
Like so many films shown at this year’s BFI London Film Festival, the open ending of 7 Days could divide opinion. That is to say, depending on the viewer’s mood and personal experience, what begins as a comical and rational prospect brought about by COVID-19 incarceration morphs into baffling abstract. Some might even feel ‘cheated’ by what unfolds and what fate actually awaits Ravi and Rita, two characters that we invest so much in.
That said 7 Days is an indication of exciting work to come from this filmmaking trio, should they chose to make more features together. We can only hope as dynamic talent and charming output is all there in abundance to tap further into.