My Son the Fanatic (1997)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  7 January 1998 (France)
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Pakistani taxi-driver Parvez and prostitute Bettina find themselves trapped in the middle when Islamic fundamentalists decide to clean up their local town.



(short story),
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1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bettina / Sandra
Gopi Desai ...
Harish Patel ...
Madeline Fingerhut (as Sarah Jane Potts)
Judi Jones ...
Mrs. Fingerhut
Geoffrey Bateman ...
Chief Inspector Fingerhut
Drunk man
Moya Brady ...
Druggy prostitute
Badi Uzzaman ...
Man in mosque
Andy Devine ...
Shiv Grewal ...
Marc Anwar ...
Rashid (as Omar Salimi)


Parvez was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and as a child was asked to study the Holy scriptures through a Maulvi. When the Maulvi started his sermon, Parvez would fall asleep, this lead to the Maulvi devising a unique punishment, which ultimately compelled Parvez to stop attending. When he grew up, his marriage was arranged with Minoo and they immigrated to a small town in Britain, where Parvez started to make a living driving a taxi, and found himself free from all religious activity. 25 years later, Parvez is an alcoholic, still driving a cab, while people who had immigrated after him have their own businesses and are wealthier. Parvez now has a grown son, Farid, who is the apple of his eye, and is to be engaged to Madeleine Fingerhut, who is the daughter of the local Chief Inspector. After the two families' meet, Farid has a sudden change of heart when he notices that the Chief Inspector detests his family, and it slowly dawns on him that he and his girlfriend are quite different, and ... Written by rAjOo (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, language and a scene of drug use | See all certifications »





Release Date:

7 January 1998 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Gyilkosságra nevelve  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$38,399 (USA) (25 June 1999)


$408,339 (USA) (30 July 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 3 July 1999 (1999) See more »


Bad Talk
Barrington Levy
(Levy, Love, Bennett, Gordon)
Greensleeves Music/One Love Music
© 1995 Greensleeves Records
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User Reviews

Multicult gridlock
10 July 1999 | by (boston) – See all my reviews

A Pakistani taxi driver in Britain (Om Puri) is plagued by a bad cosmic joke that seems co-written by Salman Rushdie and Martin Amis: his son, rather than becoming an unrecognizable assimilate, turns into a jihad-embracing Muslim fundamentalist. At the same time, the warmth of a white hooker (Rachel Griffiths) beckons, to the chagrin and hissing tongues of his local countrymen.

The writer Hanif Kureishi's onetime Benetton smugness has mellowed into ripe colors of rue, mockery and regret as he eases into middle age, and this adaptation of his short story is a lovely, surprisingly beautifully shot, sneakily haunting small movie. The dialogue sometimes has a novelish explicitness, and the performances are variable--Puri sometimes drifts into F. Murray Abraham terrain, but he has an amazing, craggy, pain-absorbent face. But the movie has a real subject: the ways in which postmod culture-hybridity isn't always a rainbow-colored day at the beach. And the warmth amid desperation of the central relationship suggests what Neil Jordan's MONA LISA might have been without the smoky-sax romanticism.

The sad thing about seeing this movie was that, after Miramax gave the movie one of their unceremonious heave-hos (par for the course for their good movies), the audience, unblanketed by buzz, hype, an aura of hot-ticket, reacted as shruggingly as critics seem to have. Too bad: MY SON THE FANATIC evokes the sweet, melancholy fatalism of seventies pictures like THE NICKEL RIDE and STRAIGHT TIME. It has the atmosphere of an overcast crime picture without the crime. And it has at least a handful of real, breathing people in it--as rare an occurrence these days as a flight of the dodo.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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