The Waiting City Reviews
On the surface, "The Waiting City" has more than its share of culture clash cliches. However, the movie nicely slows its story down to match the more leisurely rhythms of India which it does a very good of photographing. Fine performances and a darker and nuanced mood definitely work in the movie's favor. It should still be pointed out that having or adopting a baby is not a cure all for a floundering relationship, as it puts much too strain on the poor kid. In any case, it is hard to imagine Ben and Fiona ever having been at the same place in their lives.
The one good reason to watch this is to get a very good sense of modern life in India, filmed entirely on location in & around Calcutta. Dizzying street activity and peculiar (to Western eyes) ceremonies are fascinating to watch, including a wedding and a funeral in which the dead body is sent downriver on a raft - the same river people bathe and wash clothes in. Ick. With one of the most populous countries in the world, I'm afraid there is too much proximity for this traveler.
I guess another reason to watch is why I did, because it stars Radha Mitchell. She won Best Actress at the Antipodes Film Festival in St. Tropez for this role; she's good as a work-obsessed lawyer, but really nothing out of the ordinary from her usual strong work. Her name Radha-Rani derives from Indian culture as her model mother was enamored with the country during the 1960s, so I imagine Radha had great interest in experiencing the country for herself. That's a great opportunity for her but not a reason for you to watch.
I've yet to see a movie set in India that wasn't a visual treat to watch, and The Waiting City definitely earns it's place on that list. The story, about an Australian couple come to Kolkata to adopt a child in the hopes that it will fix their strained relationship, is also interesting, even though I thought it stumbled into predictable, melodramatic territory at times. This is sort of an emotional coming of age story for the two main characters, both as individuals and a couple. The transition from who they are at the beginning to who they are at the end isn't exactly handled in the most organic way, but it is mostly believable.
The movie dabbles in ideas about faith and spirituality, as well, but in a very unfocused way.
I recommend The Waiting City to those interested in India, fans of Radha Mitchell or Joel Edgerton, and movie fans comfortable with subdued, personal storytelling that takes its time to get where it's going.