Suzie Gold (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/03/2004

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Enjoyable, sweet British romcom with a winning central performance from Summer Phoenix.

Judging by the slew of sub-par US romcoms, romantic comedies are a notoriously difficult thing to get right, so it’s refreshing to see a decent British romcom for once. Suzie Gold may not exactly give Bridget Jones a run for her money – at least not in box office terms - but it’s a sweet, well-observed film with some nice directorial touches and a stand-out performance by Summer Phoenix.

North London Jewish Girl

Summer Phoenix (sister of River and Joaquin) stars as the eponymous Suzie, a North London Jewish girl from an affluent, stereotypical Jewish family. As the film opens, she's pretty sure she knows what she wants: attractive, prosperous "nice Jewish boy" Anthony Silver (Iddo Goldberg) – a match her parents are especially keen to make.

However, after a couple of dates (including an excruciating one to "Jews On Ice"), she's not so sure and instead she falls for Darren (upcoming British talent Leo Gregory, from TV’s Out of Control), her non-Jewish co-worker, even though she knows her family won't approve...

Admittedly, on the surface, Suzie Gold seems like My Big Fat Jewish Wedding and the script doesn't deliver any real surprises, though it is both informative and well observed, poking gentle, respectful fun at the various rituals and customs. There are also some nice touches, such as Grandma Sadie (Miriam Karlin) and her black and white dead husband who passes comment from beyond the grave that only Sadie can hear (he even gets an ‘after-credits gag’).

Cute And Funny

Summer Phoenix is wonderful as Suzie - she's cute, funny and extremely likeable - her performance carries the film through its dodgier moments. She also delivers a note-perfect North London accent; if you didn’t know she was American, you’d never guess from her performance here. The supporting cast are good, too - particularly Rebecca Front (from Knowing Me, Knowing You) and Stanley Townsend as Suzie’s parents and Sophie Winkelman as her slightly slutty best friend, Debbie.

There are also a couple of amusing cameos, one from Pooja Shah (EastEnders’ Kareena), in a tiny bit part in which she slags off her unseen "family" as being completely mental, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance by ex-S-Clubber Rachel Stevens (“Don’t you know who I am?”).

There are several good scenes. One thing that the film does surprisingly well is to pull off clichéd scenes that we’ve seen several times before in other films, for example: an amusing scene where Suzie imagines herself naked in front of friends and family; a delightful scene involving a kiss and two dozen helium-filled gold balloons; and the climactic ‘running through the streets’ scene (always a romcom classic).

There’s also a truly cringe-worthy proposal scene that will have you hiding behind your hands in sympathy. At any rate, somehow the juxtaposition of the American romcom cliché with the London backdrop makes the scenes work, even if we’d be less forgiving of them in other films.

In short, Suzie Gold may not be ground-breaking, but it’s a sweet, well-acted, enjoyable film that will certainly fill a nice gap until Bridget Jones 2 comes along. Recommended.

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Content updated: 21/08/2018 06:39

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