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Helena Bonham Carter,
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Much of the Pakistani Hussein family has settled in London, striving for the riches promised by Thatcherism. Nasser and his right hand man, Salim, have a number of small businesses and they do whatever they need to make money, even if the activities are illegal. As such, Nasser and his immediate family live more than a comfortable lifestyle, and he flaunts his riches whenever he can. Meanwhile, his brother, alcoholic Ali, once a famous journalist in Pakistan, lives in a seedy flat with his son, Omar. Ali's life in London is not as lucrative in part because of his left leaning politics, which does not mesh with the ideals of Thatcherism. To help his brother, Nasser gives Omar a job doing menial labor. But Omar, with bigger plans, talks Nasser into letting him manage Nasser's run down laundrette. Omar seizes what he sees as an opportunity to make the laundrette a success, and employs an old friend, Johnny - who has been most recently running around with a gang of white punks - to help ... Written by
Want to see a side of London you won't get from any other director? Then watch My Beautiful Launderette... The film opens with a scene in which squatters are forcibly evicted from a derelict building. Londoner viewers will recognize this as a sad yet common event... Immediately, we are attuned to the political bent of the movie. Fortunately for that intent, the dialogue in the film is intelligently written (note: this will not appeal to the lowest common denominator -- it scores low on commercial appeal). Unfortunately, the often "stiff" delivery of that dialogue is a significant impediment. That said, Daniel Day Lewis lends a powerful presence to his role as the punk squatter, Johnny.
The climax of the film aptly integrates the various tensions in the film: political, sexual, and social. We're surprised with a love scene between Johnny and Omar which is well-paced, erotic, and genuine.
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