A correction was made to this review on Dec. 6, 2004.
Two young women in a South Indian village find their intense teen romance thwarted by community pressures and familial outrage in “The Journey.” Tame by Western standards, this distaff “Romeo and Juliet” by way of “Cyrano” is somewhat stagy yet cumulatively touching. Gay and women’s fests are natural berths for earnest first feature by Kerala-born, Chicago-raised, lawyer-turned-helmer Ligy J. Pullappally.
Meeting as girls when one family moves from the city to a village, the protags grow into poised, inseparable adolescents for whom a fortuneteller predicts indelible love. She’s correct; but, instead of the socially advantageous arranged marriages the girls’ mothers covet, deep-thinker and gifted writer Kiran (Suhasini V. Nair) falls for outgoing Christian looker Delilah (Shruthi Menon). In a tasteful scene by an idyllic pond, latter not only reciprocates but sets the ball rolling. Symbolism — a cherished glass bracelet shattering, a butterfly soaring free — is always handily employed, and pic’s trajectory, though predictable, is engaging, due to the lethal mix of tradition and gossip in the lushly stifling setting. Tech aspects are OK and lead thesps fine.