And now another movie you’ve never heard of: The Other End of the Line, the marriage of East (Adlabs) and West (MGM) production companies. And where do they meet? San Francisco, of course.
Released just last year, The Other End is a predictable love story in the technological and globalized age. Outsourced jobs, call centers manned by people masquerading as Americans to soothe their American customers…Oh, sorry, this movie is about love.
Played by Jesse Metcalfe, Granger Woodruff (who names these characters?) is a NY ad guy. He meets Priya (Shriya Saran), a call-center operator from Mumbai, when she calls to inform him that his credit card company froze his account due to fraud. Oh, the romance! They hit it off and decide to meet in SF, where Priya, a.k.a “Jennifer David” supposedly resides and where Granger has a business meeting.
This story could have been set anywhere, but San Francisco marks a neat in-the-middle spot without leaving the United States. Through the city, Priya and Granger open themselves to new, charming experiences like cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square. Don’t laugh. It’s love. It’s a city so easy to fall in love with (and in) that an Indian woman would chow down a plate of baby back ribs.
I’ve never thought of San Francisco as a romantic city, but I can see the allure to outsiders. To me, San Francisco is mostly a normal city with a layer of progressiveness, queerness, and intellectualism added on top. But with the spectacular views from our many hilltops, it’s hard not to fall in love…as long as you’re not walking through the Tenderloin to get there.
The word “cosmopolitan” seems so debonair, and the movie hardly touches upon East-meets-West nature of the city, but San Francisco is an international city. Priya eats pork and shares an Indian place she can enjoy with Granger. There’s an undeniable Chinese influence on the city, not to mention Mexican, Latino, and Japanese. North Beach started with an Italian immigrant community. In the early 20th century, Castro was home to Scandinavians and then the Irish. Before that, the Mission, too, attracted Germans and Irish. Not surprisingly, most people in San Francisco weren’t born here or even in California.
Unfortunately, you don’t get that nuanced cultural history in The Other End. Instead, you get a scene with Priya’s bumbling Indian family in a yellow Beetle rolling up to some gay man in baggy PVC. They want to ask for directions, and he says, “Hi, handsome. Can I interest you in some group sex?”
The Other End of the Line is available on iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon.
Starring San Francisco is Appeal events editor, Christine Borden’s, take on the city’s cinematic past to illuminate today. Have a locally set film you’d like to see featured? Tell her at firstname.lastname@example.org