‘A Family Affair’ (2024) Cast & Character Guide

A Family Affair, the new Netflix original on the streaming platform, is yet another addition to the romantic comedy genre that explores two people from opposite walks of life falling in love. There are obstacles in the form of families that could force them to split. This sort of romantic comedy, if made well, turns out to a good crowd puller. A Family Affair is a clichéd film but is elevated by the actors and the characters they play, who are confused and complex and have many things to discover about themselves as they embark on the journey of love and life.


Spoilers Ahead

Brooke Harwood

Actor par excellence Nicole Kidman is Brooke Harwood, an ex-published author who is trying her hand at writing a new book years later. Brooke is a widow and raised her daughter Zara on her own after her husband passed away from a terminal disease. It is understood that Brooke spent most of her life taking care of Zara, who is now a working professional. Since Zara has found her calling, Brooke decides to go back to the world of writing to find out if she is still relevant. Her daughter and mother-in-law are great sources of support in this line. Despite all her confusion about her profession, her personal life takes a turn when she and Chris Cole find themselves attracted to each other. Chris Cole is her daughter’s boss, and getting intimate with him is not a good idea. However, she senses this could be more than just a fling, as the man is reciprocating her feelings. Mucking up through her almost perfect relationship with Zara because of Chris could lead to problems and mistakes. Brooke is, however, determined to find love at a time when people of her age have given up on finding another partner.


Chris Cole

Zac Efron, the actor who was a teenage sensation thanks to all the High School Musical movies, is back to doing another romantic comedy, this time as Chris Cole. Chris Cole is a Hollywood movie star known for his superhero movies, with a third one slated to come out soon. The man, who has achieved such stardom, has become insecure about his body image and, as a result, refuses to do any other genre of film. His assistant is a young woman named Zara, whom he initially hired under the guise of making her an executive producer for his production. With no plan to to promote her from the post of assistant, he chooses to boss her around and make her run many errands. Zara quits her job and he learns he is handicapped without her. In his pursuit to rehire her and offer a promotion, he runs into Brooke. Brooke is a single mother to Zara and a widow. Their attraction, because of their shared trauma of losing someone they loved, made them seek physical validation. It was their dinner together that changed Chris’ mind, as he found a connection with Brooke, but he never intended to hurt Zara as well. Chris is stuck between two women; one he’s falling in love with, and he needs the other to aid him with sorting out his professional life. Chris will have to decide who he will let go of in case matters become complex between all three. 

Zara Ford

Joey King as the amazing daughter of Zara Ford, is a young adult trying to find her foothold in the Hollywood film industry. Having worked as Chris Cole’s assistant for a while now, she intends to secure a professional upgrade by becoming an executive producer. Zara is tired of Chris overworking her and not offering her the job he had promised at the time of hiring One of their tiffs helps her call it quits on Chris Cole and find work that would suit her experience. Only a few days later, she is shocked to find her mother and Chris Cole together in an intimate fashion, an image that will scare her forever. Zara is a woman who knows Chris inside out and how he treats his girlfriends. As a result, she doesn’t want her sensitive mother to experience the same. She is hostile towards both her mother and her boss from the beginning because several key decisions about his work were made without Zara’s knowledge. Zara’s hatred is fueled by how she feels about watching her mother date a younger guy who has a history of breaking many women’s hearts. Zara is uncomfortable, and it is her attitude that could decide the fate of Chris and Brooke’s relationship.


Leila Ford

Veteran actress Kathy Bates as Leila Ford is a significant catalyst in the lives of the two women in her life. She was not just Brooke’s editor but also her mother-in-law. She is happy to see Brooke as the partner her son chose for himself. They have remained friends, which is a good sign, and it breaks the taboo about mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law who can never get along. Leila is the encouraging figure in Brooke’s life who wants her to succeed and wants her to write and get back to publishing her work. Leila never interfered in the lives of Brooke or her granddaughter, and as she wants them to have a life outside of the family, they are dedicated. It is Leila who understands Brooke’s attraction to Chris and asks her to pursue it. As a cool mother figure in the family, Leila is also the person who asks Zara to look at her mother as a woman and not just a parent figure. Leila Ford is the kind of woman any lady would want in their life who pushes people to follow their hearts. 


American actress Liza Koshy, as Euguiene, is the only best friend of Zara Ford who understands her mindset. Both have been each other’s solace and try to be there for each other. Euguiene is the kind of friend who learns of every detail in Zara’s life before Brooke does. Euguiene herself is going through rough times with her partner, and she knows her best friend does not have time for her. Euguiene tries to be a good friend through Zara’s breaking point of watching her mother canoodling with her boss. As a best friend, she wanted to lend a shoulder to Zara, but she is unable to handle her one-sided narrative and her unwillingness to find out about Euguiene’s crisis, which is her breakup. Zara and Euguiene do have a falling out, which is normal in a friendship, but they come back only to become stronger.


Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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