East Is East

East Is East Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Set in England during the 1970's, a traditional Pakistani man (Om Puri) finds his family's actions are definitely taking on non-traditional qualities.


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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. 90
    We've seen the clash of cultures and generations before,--- but never quite so humorously. This time, the focus is on the Pakistanis living in England, and it's quite amazingly done, perky and inventive to the core.
  2. There is some meandering, episodic raggedness to the plotting, but Khan-Din's dialogue has a fine, naturalistic flow, and the young, debuting director O'Donnell, who's neither English nor Pakistani but Irish, skillfully keeps the material from showing too clearly its theatrical origins.
  3. Examines Muslim family's religious warfare.
  4. The proceedings are leavened also with a carefree sense of humor -- including some clever, jokey camera work -- and given depth by a cache of marvelous performances.
  5. At its simplest level, East Is East is a broad comedy, but Puri's acting, so honest and heartbreaking, gives the film weight.
  6. Above all a man's confrontation with self in middle-age and his need to accept the fact that his children, beyond their mixed ancestry, are after all native-born English citizens.
  7. 40
    Far less insulting to Pakistanis or Mancunians than it is to its audience.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jul 4, 2012
    Surprizingly good movie, with good dialog and twists to follow. I sat follow cuz' you do have to listen close to the dialog. IntertwinedSurprizingly good movie, with good dialog and twists to follow. I sat follow cuz' you do have to listen close to the dialog. Intertwined within mideastern ethics, it turns out family problems and idiocentrices can be related to our own. A good watch....however the sequel (West is West) is not. Expand
  2. Nov 28, 2012
    Aka. FISH & CHIP, a UK film whose plot hinges on a Pakistani family living in UK, the patriarch is a traditional chauvinist whose only tenetAka. FISH & CHIP, a UK film whose plot hinges on a Pakistani family living in UK, the patriarch is a traditional chauvinist whose only tenet is to do everything in Pakistani muslim ways, while the mother is English, with 7 children, the cultural collision and marriage-defiant headaches begin to aggravate the family, and finally ends with a drolly amusing farce. From Irish director Damien O Expand
  3. Apr 28, 2013
    “East is East” is a 1999 comedy drama directed by Damien O’Donnell and based on a play by writer Ayub Khan-Din. The story is revolving around“East is East” is a 1999 comedy drama directed by Damien O’Donnell and based on a play by writer Ayub Khan-Din. The story is revolving around an English-Pakistani Family and their struggle of cultural identity in early 1970’s England. George Khan, portrayed by Om Puri, is a Muslim, who immigrated from Pakistan to England in 1937 in hope for better prospects, leaving behind his first wife. At the time of the movie, he has been married for 25 years to his catholic, English Wife, Ella Khan (Linda Bassett), with who he has 7 children. George Khan is a very conservative person and as such wants to make sure to raise his kids in a certain Islamic way. Therefore he embraces a very father dominated, strictly religious education for his children. So, when he feels he isn’t respected as much as he wishes to be, he also tends to be very aggressive and also violent at times. Ella Khan is, however, the complete opposite of her husband George. She is an ordinary British catholic woman who owns the family’s fish and chips shop. She offers freedom, support and attention to her kids and their interests.
    The story starts with the wedding of Nazir Khan, George and Ella Khan’s eldest son,who is to be wedded to a woman chosen by his father. But Nazir flees the wedding at the last second as he wants to choose his partner himself. After this, his father declares him dead and disowns him for not following his rules. Nazir’s bailing out also has consequences for his siblings. Disgraced by his eldest son’s behavior George Khan tightens the rules and sends the rest of his offspring to Quran school. When later word gets out that two more of his sons are to be wedded to almost cartoonishly ugly Pakistani women against their will, the children’s unstable mix of feeling British but being forced to live according to their father’s Pakistani ways threatens to eventually deliver the spark of ignition.
    “East is East” is a pretty clever package. To most viewers, it presents and advertises itself as a pretty simple and fun comedy. Yet, the movie is filled with much deeper intents than to simply entertain people. It is a portrait of everyday life of semi-immigrant families in Britain’s 1970’s. As such it confronts its viewers with difficult themes such as heterophobia and also the classical problem of the gap between generations. George Khan, is clearly afraid that his disobedient children turn away from his beliefs and towards new forms of “foreign” (british) pop-culture which he does not understand or at least not accept. Being the dominant father George Khan is, he tends to be very aggressive towards disobedient behavior, so the theme of domestic violence is a constant threat to their family as well. The main theme, however, still is people’s fight for identity; children, born and raised in Britain by a catholic mother on the one hand and a conservative Pakistani and Muslim father on the other, in a constant struggle to finding out where they truly belong.
    Writer Ayub Khan-Din based the story of “East is East” on his own experience with his parents, adding an auto-biographic touch to the movie through which it gains a lot of authenticity. But what makes this movie really stick out are the amazing actors, on top of all Om Puri, an Indian legend when it comes to drama. His impersonation of the conservative Muslim George Khan is so good he actually makes you hate him for his stubbornness while, at the same time, you always somehow seem to be able to relate to him in some way. When I saw the movie I was a little disappointed, because from what I had heard before I was expecting a comedy drama. The thing is, this is more of a drama than it might seem and the comedy part is just a neat disguise to lure people into watching this movie. Viewing it as the drama that it is, “East is East” is an utterly convincing glimpse into everyday problems of families who have different cultural and religious backgrounds. As this topic is as timeless as humanity itself the movie becomes an instant classic regarding cultural difference and identity. I certainly enjoyed the movie for its laughs as well, just don’t make the same mistake as I did and expect a comedy movie or you might be disappointed.

See all 5 User Reviews


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