ROK's Flicks: One of the best movies you'll see this year

This was one of the best movies I’ve seen this year – maybe I was just in the mood for a comedy. But I’m not alone in my praise.

Directed by Peter Andrikidis, Alex & Eve is an Australian romantic comedy about dating in the multicultural landscape. Putting a multicultural twist on the classic themes of forbidden love, Alex & Eve delivers all the warmth and humour of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and then some. It’s not without clichés, nor without predictability, but its very, very funny. The full cinema I attended was in laugh-out-loud mode.

Alex (Richard Brancatisano – “Underbelly) is a handsome Greek Orthodox 30-something high school teacher, who still lives at home like all good Greek boys, but his parents are getting worried, they want him to marry a good Greek girl.

Alex has little interest in marriage, or even in dating, much to the dismay of his overbearing father George (Tony Nikolakopoulos – tv seriesFat Tony & Co” & “The Independent”) and his gentle mother Chloe (Zoe Carides – TV series “Out of the Blue” & “Janet King”). But when Alex is out at a bar with his cheeky Irish mate Paul (Ryan O’Kane – TV series “Fat Tony & Co”) he meets Eve.

Eve (Andrea Demetriades – SBS miniseries “The Principal”), is a Lebanese Muslim, a very attractive lawyer who also lives at home and whose parents want her to marry someone they have chosen for her.

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Predictably Alex and Eve fall in love. Well, if they didn’t, there wouldn’t be a story! This is like oil and water – not to be mixed, the cultural pressures and their religions dominate their lives.

Eve’s traditional parents Salwa (Helen Chebatte) and Bassam (Simon Elrahi) are preparing an arranged marriage to a man she met while visiting family in Lebanon. Salwa has not got over the shame Alex’s previous Aussie relationship bought on them, and when the parents hear of this relationship, Alex’s mother Chloe is rushed to hospital by ambulance and the local Lebanese community shuns Eve’s family.

Alex and Eve struggle to find a way to make their relationship work. Eve’s friend Claire tries to steer her friend right, but Eve succumbs to pressure to please her family and agrees to the pre-arranged marriage.

Eve’s mother Chloe and Alex’s father George are both holding on to their cultural traditions and values, and this is what creates the bulk of the humor. There is one hilarious scene when the two families meet. Salwa greets Alex’s parents in Lebanese but George thinks she says “Get f**cked”

The school scenes, where Alex’s mixed race students try to give him relationship advice are a bit tawdry and crude at times and improbable. But so what, they make us laugh – and that’s what this film is all about.

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Alex And Eve is well made, well intentioned and depicts a stunning Harbourside Sydney.

Given the current dramas surrounding immigration and integration of the Muslim community, what better way to attempt to break down some racial prejudices?



ROK’S RATINGS – 4 glasses bubbly