As part of our coverage of the 25th Annual Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival I watched 7 Days.
The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival® is a unique showcase of contemporary Asian cinema and work from the Asian diaspora. In the case of 7 Days the film was produced in the US with an international cast. It was written and directed by Roshan Sethi and set at the outbreak of Covid in the US.
Set up on a pre-arranged date by their old-fashioned Indian parents, Ravi (Karan Soni) and Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan) seem to have nothing in common, which makes their first encounter comically awkward. When news of the COVID-19 outbreak intensifies and a shelter-in-place mandate is issued, Ravi is forced to stay at Rita’s place until he can find a ride home.
7 Days is a film about our expectations of love and whether or not we think we deserve it. For a film that revolves around two people and a single house there is so much that takes place.
The film shows us in a very interesting way about the images we want others to see. Not just with strangers but even with those closest to us. Watching these two young people presenting what they think the other needs to see is fascinating.
A Covid Tale
That’s a bold choice for the filmmakers to feature Covid so heavily in this storyline. Covid is still very much a fact of life for most of the world and maybe not something we want to see on screen. Somehow though it works here, even though it certainly takes us on a ride.
There is a lot more to Ravi than we see at first glance. The film does a great job of filling into his character over the course of the film. All we see initially this awkward ill prepared guy who is hopeless with the opposite sex. We see his strong relationship with his mother and we also see hints of trauma around that. Something that comes through when he opens up is his ambition, he definitely wants more than what his parents had. To succeed where his parents marriage failed.
I didn’t like Rita at first after the initial date. I will stay away from major spoilers but she does something that is a red flag for me. That left the character to do a lot to get back into my good books. I found myself trying to look at her through Ravi’s eyes to see what he sees. She has a strength, a sense of independence so it is easy to see things that scare and appeal to him all at once. It is more interesting to see what qualities of Ravi she notices that make her take notice.
One thing that I would warn potential viewers abut is that this is a romantic drama not a comedy. That distinction is an important one which you should certainly be prepared for in the third act. Still that doesn’t mean that there are not plenty of laughs to have in this film just bring the tissues.
Overall 7 Days is a film I would firmly place in the recommend pile with a caution for people not ready to see a story related to the Covid outbreak.