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687 Ratings

The Lunchbox


Directed by Ritesh Batra
India, France, 2013


A mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox delivery system (Mumbai’s Dabbawallahs) connects a young housewife to a stranger in the dusk of his life. They build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox. Gradually, this fantasy threatens to overwhelm their reality.

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The Lunchbox Directed by Ritesh Batra
More than a tale of random hearts connecting through fast food delivery, this is a heartbreaking movie about things that won’t and don’t and can’t go wrong, going seriously wrong. It’s a film which deserves to be played in a double bill with Satyajit Ray’s 1963 masterpiece of marital bliss gone awry, The Big City.
April 11, 2014
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Batra also slow-plays the gradual epistolary courtship between Ila (who begins daydreaming about the man on the receiving end of her paneer) and Saajan, which suggests an Indo-metropolitan riff on The Shop Around the Corner. We can feel the plot machinery turning at all times around these characters, but because The Lunchbox is a well-built contraption… the feeling is more cozy than claustrophobic. Sometimes, all that needs to be said about a movie is that it works.
March 21, 2014
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Batra’s poised, observational direction gets much mileage from his actors’ soulful gazes, shading the sentimental mist with unspoken misery. Yet his loving attention to local customs—starting in Ila’s kitchen, including the very lunch-delivery network on which the story runs, involving Saajan’s white-collar workplace, and extending to the particulars of public transportation that bind the city together—serves mainly as an ornamental backdrop for a slight, undeveloped anecdote.
March 03, 2014
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