Stars : Daniel Day Lewis, Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth
An ambitious British Asian and his white lover strive for success and hope, when they open up a glamorous laundrette
My Beautiful Laundrette was one of those films which I've been meaning to see for a long long time. Not just because it's a classic British film but because it has only of my favourite actors (Daniel Day Lewis') first roles. This film is not only about the romance between a British Asian and a British guy but about Thatcher's 1980's Britain. It's defiantly one of my favourite films of the 1980's.
My Beautiful Laundrette, despite ageing a little, still maintains aspects of 80's culture that can be still prevalent in today's society. With aspects of British Muslim culture constantly questioned in today's society this is even more of an important film. Racism in relation to British Muslims has gone on recently in the UK and a strong part of our Media. Perhaps some aspects of the film is not relevant, for instance, the constant use of ?paki? wouldn?t be used in recent period films but only in the films of the 1980?s. Perhaps that?s an aspect that has aged the film a little but this film will always remain a strong depiction of life in Thatcher?s Britain for British Asians, and indeed gay men.
My Beautiful Laundrette is one of Daniel Day Lewis?s first acting roles; previously he?d played supporting roles. Day Lewis is a strong part of this film and delivers a strong performance, one which you can see what Stephen Frears say in him. Day-Lewis plays a great role as Johnny, school friend of Omar and certainly makes you empathise with him as a viewer. The acting in this film is a strong part of the construction of it. Like Day Lewis, Gordon Warnecke, in his first acting role delivers a great performance with such vulnerability and innocence. Right from the very first time we see the two characters meet, you can see the attraction and chemistry between the two characters; a relationship which is portrayed brilliantly by Frears. Also worth mentioning Saeed Jafferey as Omar?s uncle, who seems to crop in many British TV Shows and films.
The film is set in Thatcher?s Britain in 1985 and is mentioned by a few of the characters. The film contains examples of Individualism that was the main part of the 1980s, and many aspects of liberalism of the characters. Omar?s Uncle and members of their family seem to aspot characteristics of many of their white counterparts. For instance; owning many businesses, houses (evident in the scene where Johnny kicks out a tenant) and striving to succeed to their level. Once quote which is related to this is said by Omar?s uncle relating to being recognised as a Businessmen and not an Asian businessman. This doesn?t seem to be shared by Omar?s father; who constantly tries to get him to college;
Don't get too involved with that crook. You've got to study. We are under siege by the white man. For us education is power
And I think this is basically an underrated part of the film. The relationship between Omar and Johnny is not only the core of the film, but the backdrop that it is set in as well.
Overall, My Beautiful Laundrette has aged a little (possibly keeping it from a perfect film) but still is an important look into 198?s Thatcher Britain. An important look into the reactions towards British Asian?s entering jobs (previously occupied by white British males), racism and reactions towards homosexuality. Also worth watching to see one of Daniel Day Lewis?s first roles.