My Beautiful Laundrette Reviews
I think the biggest surprise about this film isn't the gay relationship but the fact that this was nominated for Best Screenplay.
The epicenter is Omar, the son of Pakistani emigrees. He's constantly harassed by a group of skinheads, who can't understand why Johnny -who is white- hangs out with him more than he does with them. So not only are Johnny and Omar adrift and lacking a definite social circle, they are also romantically involved, which doesn't incite much approval either. They are pretty much alone in their quest for stability and success. This is what the film is about. A slice of their daily lives, and how Omar wants to start working at his Uncle's laundrette and turn it into the fanciest laundrette in the area. And make money. Johnny helps him. They overcome some of the obstacles, the frowning, and the pressure to take a more 'normal' path and split up, but when the film ends it is obvious the trouble is not over and never will be.
I have never understood MBL as a generalization of the Thatcher years, especially considering how specific the conditions of the characters are. Of course, it must be parting from a generally uniform view of the social climate, but I would hate to suggest it reflects an entire society. However, that doesn't make the story any less important. A general knowledge of the average, slightly fundamentalist Western man is enough to understand how realistic the attitudes of harassment towards Omar and Johnny are. Therefore, although so specific, the film addresses real issues. So if you're not in for some critical thinking it's better you don't watch it. Omar and Johnny's relationship is both same gender and interracial, and it's interesting to see ourselves react before this scenario. Every film that takes on gay or racial issues is bound to be provocative. Although I personally didn't learn anything with MBL, mainly because I have no problem at all with anything, I admire how naturally the film explores controversial themes. I guess what truly struck me is that the "questioning" doesn't feel forced.
It's also an interesting watch for any enthusiasts of Daniel Day-Lewis like myself. He had not worked much before (was this his first film?) but the magnetic screen presence is there as much as ever.
MBL is an easy-going film with much more depth than it appears to have. You just flow with it and get to know Omar and Johnny. You yell at them for being so stupid sometimes, and you laugh with them on other occasions for being so clever. It is not the best film I've ever seen, but one of the most involving... yes.
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.
I remeber the first time I saw this I totally bought into his character as tough, street savy "punk" they intended him to be. This time around he just seemed like some homeless gay hustler with a bad dye job.
It's a fun little social commentary for the period, a little too "soap-operaish" at times to be as powerful as it might have been.
All in all an enjoyable film, but not nearly as good as I remembered.
I think the movie was smart but is rather slow and might feel very obscure. The main character Omar is particularly strange - he looks very out of the world, nearly dreamy, which doesn't go with the dark ambiance of the movie...
A good story, great one I might ad, about East Asian communities living in England and the strife the have gone through in order to achieve a sense of belonging to a society which disses them.
In this movie Pakistanis in its majority are colluded with the mob and dirty deals, have acquired very westernized ways of living and detached from the traditional lifestyle, and although Omar who is seen as the possible character to break that mold due to his father, a once socialist journalist who appears to have been forced to leave Pakistan...(spoiler alert)... but seems he can't persuade his son about going to college.
But there's another topic which is also being overlooked here... interracial homosexuality which in the 80's was not seen as a problem, but the film hints that the issue is still behind closed doors and its the public's duty to open that door and look into it and accept a more diverse society... thankfully we've come a long way now.
Based on a novel by Hanif Kurieshi.