THE SOCIAL COMMENTARY IN THE FILM
The film uses humor and irony to satirize and criticize the Cold War Era, along the way touching on themes of identity, what it means to be “free,” love, both plutonic and romantic, as well as self-love and acceptance.
It heavily explores the theme of belonging, through Vlad’s character, of course, but as an overall theme for almost every character in the film. Even how Vlad tries to fit in by learning to coexist with other immigrants, minorities, and feminists (something he is not used to at all). The diversity and complexity of American society was well represented without feeling purposely tokenizing.
Some examples include the lawyer (Cuban), Lucia (Italian), the family Vlad lives with (Black), the doctor (Indian), and the scene in the café where a minimum of four languages are spoken in the span of sixty seconds.
I love how completely this film captures the representative of the American idea of the Soviet Union. It’s over the top and filled with stereotypes, and just tame enough to make people think that’s exactly how the USSR was at the time, tapping into so many stereotypes we always heard, from food lines to living in a panopticon to language barriers. While some is on point, it’s also such a great representation of the propaganda the United States was peddling at the time as well. The scene in the café where a minimum of four languages are spoken.