‘The Lunchbox’ is Indian food for the soul

Nimrat Kaur (left) and Irrfan Khan play strangers who become involved through letters passed to each other in lunchboxes.
Nimrat Kaur (left) and Irrfan Khan play strangers who become involved through letters passed to each other in lunchboxes.Photos By Michael Simmonds/Sony Pictures Classics

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Of the two most recommended movies opening in area theaters today, “Nymph()maniac: Vol. 1” is the one to see if you want to be challenged with images of sex and degradation, sin and redemption — the death of love and the extremes of the flesh.

The Lunchbox” is for everyone else.

A humanist fable from India, the film is actually a romance in the classic tradition, a “Brief Encounter” transposed to the rhythms and flavors of modern-day Mumbai. An epistolary romance, no less, about strangers who fall in love by way of letters. How retro! And, in the hands of writer-director Ritesh Batra and stars Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur, how unexpectedly moving.

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