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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
Maybe it's the fact that the film's very British and very eighties but how can this possibly score 6.9 whereas tripe like Good Will Hunting gets 8? Sometimes I despair at the reviewers on here.
Anyway, back to the film. Omar (Gordon Warnecke) is a young Asian guy who goes to work for his Thatcherite uncle (Saeed Jaffrey). His ambition is to renovate his uncle's run-down laundrette. He gets in his white mate Johnny (Daniel Day Lewis) to give him a hand and the two guys fall in love.
My Beautiful Laundrette completely encapsulates the zeitgeist of 1980's Britain, tackling everything from racial tension, immigration, generation differences, class differences, Thatcherism and homosexuality. I say 'tackle'- it's presented but the viewer is allowed to make their own minds up. This is primarily a coming-of-age film and on that level it can appeal to everyone.
As for the arguments that you can only like this film if you fit into one of the criteria portrayed here or the period it was set in, they're completely ridiculous. So, we can only like Schindler's List if we're a Nazi or a Jew and were alive in the forties? Come on people. The only criteria I fit in with this film is that I live in Britain- not even London, where the film's set.
What a lot of people dislike about the film is that it portrays a lot of the tensions happening in Britain but it does so on a very human level. No character is just a victim of the state. It's a light romantic comedy that lets us see the violence and racism but doesn't linger, making it more powerful when things do happen.
As for the relationship between Omar and Johnny, it's portrayed very tenderly (and very sexily, though tasteful). What is rare for a 'gay film'- a label given to any film that has gay characters in- is that the characters aren't tortured over their sexuality or punished. It's just portrayed as a normal loving relationship and the two actors- both straight- are very convincing.
Now Daniel Day Lewis has bagged his third Oscar, breaking the record for Best Actor, how does he fare in a very early film in his career? I really enjoyed his performance- you can see there's something about him, even at this age. His facial structure is outstanding- he looks very striking. And there's none of the mannerisms you might expect from an actor destined to do well. He comes across as a fresh talent- which he was.
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