I’m not actually a fan of romantic comedy, and only a liner away from losing my faith in Indonesian’s attempt on it. Maybe I’ve seen a little too much of those so-called television movie (or FTVs as most of us know it) and got fed up, or maybe my sense of humor is on a different frequency with the makers. But I rarely found them entertaining and thus barely felt compelled to see one on the cinema.
What makes Kapan Kawin? different, then?
Aside from the blatantly obvious appeal of Reza Rahadian and Adinia Wirasti, the theme itself is something that I could relate to. Not to mention the trailer actually piqued my interest. And when I found out that it was written by Monty Tiwa, I know it’s a done deal.
Dinda (Adinia Wirasti) is a successful hotel manager in her 30s, adored and respected by her peers and coworkers. And yet she’s still a failure in her parents’ eyes. Because unlike normal women who got married and had babies in their early 20s, Dinda is still single with no plan of stepping on the altar anytime soon.
Ultimately, she caved in to her parents’ pressure – or to be exact, got lured by the promise that she could be in charge of her parents’ marriage celebration – she made a deal with a street actor Satrio (Reza Rahadian) and paid him to be the perfect boyfriend that her parents wanted. Alas, nothing’s going according to Dinda’s plan when her elated parents decided to test their relationship.
“Kapan kawin?” (or “when will you get married?”) is admittedly a haunting question for the young adults who live in this country, moreso for the women. The bordering degrading stereotype that women had their expiration date for marriage is one thing that prompted parents to nag at their daughters, urging them to find someone and settle down as soon as possible. And this is one of the reason why I was intrigued to watch Kapan Kawin?, because I’d like to see how they present this issue. That, and Reza Rahadian. Alas, Ody C. Harahap proved that you don’t need to abuse the phrase “Kapan kawin?” to made a good movie on the subject of getting married.
Admittedly, Kapan Kawin? is not novel, but it did manage to be a refreshing breathe of air in the realm of Indonesia’s romance movie. Instead of relying heavily on drama or outdated slapstick comedy routine, it was armed with clever jokes and dialogues that made a full use of Reza Rahadian and Adinia Wirasti’s undeniable chemistry. I don’t know about you, but it had been so long since I last saw such an effortless couple. Right from the start, you just can’t help but to root for the two of them to be together. The bickering, their expressions, the tone of their conversations, their body language, and even something as simple as the way they look at each other, all are screaming that they are made for each other. And when the two main characters already have such strong chemistry, it won’t matter how cheesy and predictable the dialogue and story line is. It will work. Thankfully, Kapan Kawin? is far from cheesy. Probably a bit predictable, as plot-wise it didn’t stray too far from the existing praxis of a romantic comedy, but their dialogues and their jokes are not cheesy nor cringe worthy.
Kapan Kawin? is not a movie that set out to ridicule unmarried women and preach about true love, it is a movie that tell you the true predicament of independent unmarried women amidst the society and tradition that don’t accept them. It is a movie about the complicated relationship between parents and child, on how far you would go to please your parents. And ultimately, it is a movie about how society and norm play a huge part on your life, especially on defining your pursuit of happiness and your search for the perfect marriage partner. And all of them was showcased cleverly in the script that was written by Monty Tiwa and Robert Ronny. They somehow created a light rom-com movie with a lot of moral messages that sneakily get under your skin and seep into your brain. And I like that, I like how they trade blatant lecture for subtle idea, and how you can’t help but to say amen to their points because you know they’re right. Admit it. Also, the jokes are on point and while they not only made fun of the entertainment industry itself but also on the stereotypical traditional parents-modern daughter combination, they do so in a non-degrading way. No, they present it in a way that got you relating and made you feel like you’re actually looking at a mirror and laughing at your own predicament. Or maybe that’s just me getting too carried away.
I can’t help but confess I was stunned by how careful and how right they handle this issue, though. It is a sensitive issue after all, one that is prompted by the deeply rooted patriarchal tradition in this society where a woman is only as good as the man she married and thus she should find a good husband as soon as possible before they don’t find her attractive anymore. And unlike Hijab which appears to be a nice movie about working women but ultimately support the notion that a wife should be obedient to her husband and should just give up on their dreams instead of actually talking it out with their old-fashioned unaccepting husband, actually made me feel like I could take control of my own happiness and should stand up for it. It did put an emphasize on the importance of parents’ blessing, but it also reminded you that at the end of the day you are the one who knows for sure how to make yourself happy and thus you shouldn’t surrender to others’ judgement.
Most importantly, and the reason why I was head over heels over this movie, is that it was really subtle on not only getting their points across but also on the interaction between the characters. While this especially ring true on the case of Reza Rahadian and Adinia Wirasti, I have spent almost one paragraph just to fawn over their acting and the small gestures that showcased their character development. But then Ivanka Suwandi as Dinda’s mother and Adi Kurdi as Dinda’s father was also subtle on their interaction with their daughters, which let you know that something is off and that Dinda is probably right for avoiding to go home. The same could also be said to the small family of Febby Febiola as Nadya, Erwin Sutodihardjo as Jerry, and Firman Ferdiansyah as William. Their gait, their presence, and the way they talk to each other, was a subtle give away that something is amiss and this perfect family is not as perfect as they want you to believe. Bendot’s character is also a fun butt of the joke, although his presence is sometimes awkward and I don’t feel the closeness between Dinda and her so-called best friend Eva, played by Ellis Alisha.
Well, nothing is perfect. And as good as Kapan Kawin? is, I would never call it perfect. There’s still some over the top scenes – which luckily played out to enhance the humor, there’s a loose end and lack of remorse which was downplayed the story development, but at the end of the day it has undeniably made it’s way to my list of favorite Indonesian movie. It is fun, lighthearted, enjoyable, refreshing, with great casts and good moral of the story to boot. Ody C. Harahap did an outstanding job on bringing everything together and keeping me focused on the screen, nervous about how the narrative will unfold. Not to mention that he managed to showcase Jogja as a real city and avoid the typical stereotype that most FTV (and some movies) seem to be very keen on exploiting. Kapan Kawin? also has a high production value, judging from the cinematography and oh how I adore those aerial shots of the landscape around Dinda’s parents’ house. The soundtrack, while might not be as grand as Supernova or Pendekar Tongkat Emas, was still nice on the ear and I was laughing too loud when Reza and Adi sang Sri Rejeki’s song played. Last but not least, it has a very adorable and funny credit title. So my verdict, is that this movie is a must watch.
Director: Ody C. Harahap. Writers: Monty Tiwa and Robert Ronny. Released on: 12 February 2014. Casts: Reza Rahadian, Adinia Wirasti, Adi Kurdi, Ivanka Suwandi etc