A review by Nalini Haynes
Opening scene: a wedding.
Alex is a good-looking Greek teacher whose family want to set him up with a nice Greek girl. Eve is a non-practicing Muslim lawyer whose family demands that she marry a nice Lebanese man.
Both families are pressuring them to find partners and marry during the wedding ceremony, pointing out ‘nice’ partners in the congregation.
Alex and Eve notice each other in passing before the women are shephearded off to their segregated celebration.
Later, they bump into one another again. Alex is intrigued by Eve. He starts to research Islam and takes his year 12 class to visit a Mosque to broaden their… maths skills? He pursues Eve but makes an ass of himself. Eve is attracted to Alex but, if they hook up, her family must pay the price: ostracism by their community.
The racism is hilarious: Greek vs Lebanese and vice versa, not white supremacist at all. And the fighting over who invented the baklava! Priceless!
Alex’s grade 12 maths class steals the show when they’re on screen. Students take the part of Mrs Bennett ‘exposing’ Alex while enacting a Romeo and Juliet of their own in parallel to Alex and Eve, explaining cultural conflicts.
A bridge is a character
The Sydney Harbor Bridge is practically a character in this movie, lending atmosphere to the highs and lows of this romance.
The production value — possibly a feature of viewing via a review-copy disc — could have been higher. Images were slightly blurred when characters moved. This is my only criticism of the entire movie. I love the story and the characters.
Alex and Eve is an adorable romantic comedy that is part Romeo and Juliet and part My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The story was so delightful that, like the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, I’ll re-watch Alex and Eve. It’s essential viewing on those couch-and-doona days. I hear there are a lot of those days during Canberra’s winters…
If you can cope with auto-tuning and repetition of the same song – usually ‘Mad, Mad World’ – in a tv series musical, then I recommend Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist. I enjoyed it but Alex & Eve is better.
Rating: 4 and 1/2 stars
Director: Peter Andrikidis
Writer: Alex Lykos
Stars: Andrea Demetriades, Richard Brancatisano, Ryan O’Kane
Special appearances: Zoe Carides and Katerine-Ann Mackinnon-Lee