Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
Suzie Gold (2004)
15Contains strong language, moderate sex and soft drug use

Jewish North London is the setting for this lively romantic comedy. Like East Is East and Bend It Like Beckham before it, Suzie Gold deals with second-generation immigrants struggling to make their own way in multi-cultural Britain. Summer Phoenix is the eponymous Suzie, a 23-year-old girl trying to decide between the nice Jewish boy her parents have picked out for her and the Chelsea-supporting Gentile (Leo Gregory) who steals her heart.

If only it were that simple. For as Suzie complains: "How can I listen to my heart when there's so much noise in my head?" Much of it comes from her garrulous mum (Rebecca Front), who's determined that all her children will wed well within the Jewish faith. But there's also Suzie's decrepit grandmother (Miriam Karlin), her gangsta rap-loving younger brother (Gem Souleyman), and an outraged family friend (Frances Barber) who screams: "My family didn't go to the gas chambers so you could marry out!"


The success of any film set within a distinctive ethnic community depends on how much the characters and concerns become universal, and in this regard Ric Cantor's comedy more than satisfies. Yes, there's an awful lot of Woody Allen-style humour ("Jewish girls don't believe in sex after marriage"), jaunty kletzmer music, and old Yiddish sayings ("A kind word is no substitute for a piece of herring"). But anyone who's ever had a partner their parents don't approve of will sympathise with Suzie's plight and root for her all the way.

If there's a problem, it's Phoenix herself. She seems so determined to disappear inside her character that she actually becomes slightly anonymous. Still, if you enjoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding and have had the odd run-in with your mishpokhe (that's family to you and me), this likeable tale will be as welcome as a Mars bar during Yom Kippur.

End Credits

Director: Ric Cantor

Writer: Ric Cantor, Carry Franklin, Lisa Ratner

Stars: Summer Phoenix, Leo Gregory, Rebecca Front, Frances Barber, Miriam Karlin, Gem Souleyman

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Length: 93 minutes

Cinema: 05 March 2004

Country: UK

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