Monica Ali’s best-selling debut novel about life in London’s Bangladeshi quarter gets a sensitive treatment from director Sarah Gavron, deftly condensing its sprawling narrative without sacrificing colour or texture. Its chief asset is Indian actress Tannishtha Chatterjee, whose delicate performance as displaced heroine Nazneen helps offset Satish Kaushik’s broader turn as her boorish, gargantuan husband – a portrait that will hardly endear the film to the community it’s depicting. It also makes up for the story’s claustrophobic feel and Christopher Simpson’s wooden portrayal of the market trader with whom Nazneen has an adulterous affair, before he is radicalised by post-9/11 racism. Ultimately, however, whatever insights Brick Lane has to offer on multicultural Britain and the immigrant experience have already been made in East Is East and Bend It Like Beckham.
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