Patti Cake$ (2017) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
37 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
1 Star - Awful
date-8992726 August 2017
Well what good can be said about this film?? I was sure glad when it was over; so I guess that would be the one good thing about it. It is a movie overflowing with clichés, and lazy writing, and mediocre to bad acting. The accents the characters use are really annoying, and the words and phrases are simplistic and a lot of them disgusting. Some people say about movies that they did not really care much for: "wait and watch it on DVD". However with this movie, I suggest avoiding it all together. There are much, much, much better ways to spend your precious time.
93 out of 142 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Disney's kind of story about a rapper.
toonji18 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I watch this movie because of my work. It's nothing new. Follows the same old pattern of struggling protagonist who wants to be something big.

Like I said, it's a Disney's style. A feel good one. Not as much inspiring as Eminem's 8Miles. A lot of good but somehow cliché moments.

The rap part is what i dislike most. It's just like they put anything they can rhyme with in the lyrics. Or maybe this is a different kind of style, I don't know. But once you've watched this movie, the song will stick into your head for quite sometime. And imagine that I had to work with it for 3 or 4 days. PBNJ haunted me for like a week.

All in all, it's a good movie but not so good that I would recommend as a must see.
11 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Didn't expect much, walked away very surprised in a great way.
Stephen Black14 November 2017
What a shocker! I didn't think I would enjoy this but had time to kill. I was impressed enough to post a review, which I never do. The characters pulled me in and really made me feel something. Make me feel something, angry, sad, happy, scared, confused, anything. A good movie (for me) takes me away from my life and lets me see the world through others eyes for an hour and a half. This is not a prospective I would ever have imagined I would enjoy but I did. By the end of the movie I was rooting for Pati and her friends. I really felt vested in what I was seeing all a while through their eyes. Great acting, great story, great idea all around. Watching this movie was time well spend. Kudos!
16 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A star is born
TheLittleSongbird6 September 2017
Love films centred around music. Being someone who grew up with music being a huge part of my life, who sings and who graduated last year with a degree in Vocal and Operatic Studies, so considers music very important and that it wasn't appreciated enough or sadly not cool to like as a subject in my school years.

Am not a big fan of rap, with a few exceptions, often finding it simplistic, repetitive and preachy, but have a high appreciation, if not quite love, for blues. So wasn't sure how good 'Patti Cake$' would be, despite it being positively received, but there are good music-following your dreams films out there and there was the hope that 'Patti Cake$' would be one of them. Seeing it, it was. Not as amazing as the best reviews have said it is, but for its flaws there is a lot to like here and it was quite the pleasant surprise.

Sure, 'Patti Cake$', being a film that treads familiar ground, is very predictable with not much new and characters that fall into cliché territory. The looking up to the rap god subplot is contrived and underdeveloped, feeling like filler. Agree too that the script has its clunky moments.

However, there are good things. The budget is not a huge one and 'Patti Cake$' is not a grand in spectacle film, nor does it need to be. It's hardly a cheap-looking film and is shot well. The music is catchy and tune, yes even the rap despite some simplistic lyric writing.

Most of the writing has humour that's a mix of gentle and witty, a warm heart and heartfelt poignancy. For its clichés and predictability and one subplot that falls flat, the story has freshness too and told in a way that has vibrancy and heart, with a lot of energy and creative spark, the very definition of feel good, it's very sweet, heart-warming and uplifting and the underdog/following your dreams story as a result just about works.

Geremy Jasper keeps things moving beautifully, with great direction of his actors and the drama and great, near-seamless synchronisation of visuals, staging and music. The characters, despite being clichés, are both fun and not hard to like, with the lead character being proof that one doesn't need to look like a supermodel to be an inspirational role model. In no way is that meant to cause offence, actually think lowly of people who think it's alright to make shallow comments about people's looks.

The cast do a great job, with Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay and Mamoudou Athie providing zesty support and Cathy Moriaty registering strongly too. Best of all, the backbone of the film and the best thing about it, is Danielle MacDonald, a brilliant star-making turn and she deserves to be a big star after this.

All in all, a very nice film that made me feel good, regardless of not completely loving it. Am aware that this review is going to be very unpopular, despite being a subjective person that the very eruditely written and in my mind honest positive reviews have so many negative useful votes is a surprise to me. 7/10 Bethany Cox
9 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Warm funny star is born (Danielle MacDonald that is)
conan-218 June 2017
I saw this at the Sydney Film Festival 2017.

This movie is the typical youth dreaming of becoming a star and then we route for him/her as they are rejected by the establishment only to rise like a phoenix. Why so they keep making them? Because we love them is why. The beauty here is the parallels with the star Danielle MacDonald.

Danielle is a Sydney girl, who could not get noticed down under and went State-side to find her niche. Her talent is unstoppable and she does dirty Jersey (their words in credits not mine) proud.

The rapping is brilliant. I can't understand most of the stuff they play on the radio but given the context, the lyrics are poignant cries to the world of her plight.

Go - be inspired by Killer P and try stop singing P B N J days after you see the movie.
18 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
One of 2017's best, a great starting point for both director Geremy Jasper and leading actress Danielle MacDonald
MatiasMontemayor15 July 2017
Patti Cake$ is director Geremy Jasper's first feature film, and leading actress Danielle MacDonald's first major role, having had only supporting roles in small TV shows in the past. The premise of this movie is fairly simple, the movie is centred around the aspiring rapper Patricia Dombrowski (a.k.a Killa P, a.k.a Patti Cake$), she is fighting a quest for glory and fame to ultimately get out of her New Jersey hometown. This movie surprised me, I saw it around a month before release, and I can say it has been one of the better films I've watched this year, and can definitely see why it's an official Sundance selection. Danielle MacDonald is warm and funny throughout the film, Danielle also delivers very heartfelt and emotional scenes, giving an overall strong performance. Patti isn't the only character that shines here, Bridget Everett as Patti's mother, Barb, also feels real and also delivers a strong performance. The mother daughter dynamic between these two characters is something out of the ordinary, and something not usually shown by Hollywood. Patti's friend Hareesh (Siddharth Dhananjay) alongside Patti's grandmother (Cathy Moriarty) are both used mostly for comedic relief. Patti's "Nan" is, in my opinion, the stand out character of the film, she brings laughter to the movie, yet she also acts as Patti's mother figure, seeing that her real mother isn't really there for her when Patti needs her. This story follows Joseph Campbell's Heroes Journey step by step, yet it does so in a very refreshing and new way. With likable, relatable characters, all of which feel like actual people, something most Hero's journey stories fail. Many people argue that Hollywood's films are losing creativity, this is one very unique and specific film. A film I would recommend to most people, I myself don't listen to rap and while I don't dislike it, I don't like it either. After seeing this movie I've got the gritty and outstanding original songs stuck in my brain, something I can't usually say about rap. In conclusion, this film is a great starting point for both director Geremy Jasper and leading actress Danielle MacDonald, and one I highly recommend you watch when it comes out on August 18th.
24 out of 76 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Fun, Edgy Comedy Mixed With Great Music
bastille-852-7315476 August 2017
From early on in "Patti Cake$," it seems evident that director Geremy Jasper's energetic style and tone to this story of a woman from 'dirty Jersey' trying to make it big in the rap scene will likely make this independent film appealing to mainstream audiences as well. First of all, the film's music is excellent. It is well-written, authentic and filled to the bone with genuine passion. If you're a rap fan, this would make the film most certainly worth the price of admission alone. The film has some notable performances as well, with Danielle Macdonald's role as Patti particularly note-worthy. The depiction of New Jersey is gritty and realistic, while still keeping a sense of dry humor when necessary, and the characters--while offbeat--are generally developed nicely.

However, the film is not without flaws. The main reason why this is the case is because of the film's rather generic script. While the script feels a bit bundled in parts and seems to work a little overtime to make the movie feel like a 'crowd-pleaser,' that's not the main problem with it. The real concern here is that the film contains a number of clichés that have been done many times before in films about performing arts. This makes the movie feel very slightly tedious and containing a bit of narrative 'filler' due to the presence of these tried-and-true events. As a result, it could have been about 10 or 15 minutes shorter without really losing anything.

While the movie is enjoyable and amusing throughout, it really rises to the occasion during the scenes Patti is rapping. In those scenes, the energy is truly both electric and infectious. Due to this (and the film's characters and accessibility,) this could also be an independent film that breaks out and finds a real audience in wide release, much like "The Big Sick" did earlier this summer--although unlike "The Big Sick," people will also run to iTunes when they get on their computers after arriving home from the theater to download the soundtrack. Recommended. 7/10

Disclaimer: I have not yet seen "The Big Sick," although I do plan on watching it on Redbox, and am not attempting to compare this film to that one in terms of quality. I was only using it as a comparison on the nature of accessibility/mainstream appeal.
12 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Patti Cake$: Waitress by Day, Rapper by Night
brankovranjkovic7 September 2017
Cert 15 for language content.

This is an independent musical which follows the rags to (presumably) riches life of an aspiring female rapper. Australian actress Danielle MacDonald is Patti, a young waitress by day, ambitious rapper by night. Patti is searching for stardom with her equally talented friend who works as a pharmacist.

Meanwhile Patti is also financially struggling to support her ailing grandmother, whose medical costs are mounting causing frequent phone-calls chasing up for payment.

There's some friction between Patti and her mother, who had a promising singing career which ended early.

Patti is a white girl trying to make it in the black stereotypical world of rap, it's not the most original story, and feels predictable, especially towards the end.

Worth watching even if you're not a big fan of rap music
9 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Macdonald is Utterly Believable and Amazing to Watch
JoshuaDysart25 August 2017
When Sundance celebrates a film it's not a sign of innovation or creative courage or unique vision. It just means that a low budget film is as much a slave to clichés, poorly constructed tropes, and mechanical audience pleasing manipulation as a mainstream one. The only difference is that it's focused on underrepresented characters or subject matter. And that's good, that's important, of course. Yet, I most often use "Sundance Celebrated" as a derogatory term synonymous with a lack of creative courage. Films celebrated at Sundance seldom work for me.

PATTI CAKE$ is guilty of all those things.

And it completely worked for me. I dug this film immensely. Why? Mostly because I'm a sucker, I guess.

I'm a sucker for movies about people making music. I'm a sucker for movies about working class people trying to get by. I'm a sucker for movies about creativity and dreams and struggle. I'm a sucker for movies with energy and a sense of fantasy mixed with the hardships of the real world. But all of that can go horribly wrong. It's easy to earn an eye roll when two characters hold hands for the first time and the music swells. It's easy to lose patience when the mechanics of the script become so incredibly predictable that you can chart the struggles and victories in the first ten minutes.

Patti Cake$ is partly saved by director Geremy Jasper's amazing synergy of music and imagery. The film is an absolute blast to watch if you love movies about music. But what really sells it is actress Danielle Macdonald as Killer P, A.K.A Patti Cake$.

Macdonald is sick in this. Utterly amazing. I fully believed she was a New Jersey girl with strong flow who the director found in some parking lot and decided to build a film around. I was ecstatic to find she's an Australian actress who, before taking this role, had never heard a New Jersey accent and didn't know how to rap.

It's through her authenticity that I bought into the fantasy culmination of the perfectly orchestrated underdog struggle. Through her that I bought into the love and the joy and the hope.

And I walked out of the film happy and charged, finally content just to be an audience member pleased.
12 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Fun Cinderella Story
popcorninhell11 September 2017
We all like to fancy ourselves as the underdog in our own stories. Everyone - even the most fortunate among us has had to deal with some sort of hardship or struggle. It's a constant of life, that we can both use and learn from, or we can let our adversities overwhelm and define who we are. No amount of collective learning can truly prepare us for how cold and punishing the world can truly be. Yet, if you'll permit the cliché, calm seas never made a skilled sailor. The best we can often do when we're at our lowest, is to muscle up some courage and inspiration, lick your wounds and try again. Sometimes that's enough.

Patricia Dombrowski (Macdonald) knows this general feeling world-weariness quite well. She's an aspiring rap artist and thusly faces all the hardships that come with trying to make it big in a crusty New Jersey city where everyone is already aspiring for the same. Additionally she's impoverished, juggles multiple jobs and deals with her fair share of false starts. Her only advantage is her youth, which given the fact that she's morbidly obese may not be enough to curry her favor. Despite this she, along with her rag-tag group of friends give their all to seek fame, fortune and true artistic expression in a world that expects nothing from them.

I will readily admit that I am a sucker for these kinds of movies, and as far as this movie goes, Patti Cake$ is quite the charmer. Much of this is reliant on Danielle Macdonald's sympathetic performance as the talented but gun-shy Patti aka Killer P., whose flows vacillate between lyrically catchy to downright Shakespearian. The entire story is told from her perspective which often melds into a bold magical realism whereby she's spitting her words to the approval of O-Z (Mgaujah) her musical hero. These segments of the story are often coated in stormy skies and green tint; the color of money.

Patti's transition from a "culture vulture" to a bonafide lyrical phemon doesn't come without a pessimistic bite. The insurmountable and grave struggles that Patti faces may not have the same incredulity as that of 8 Mile (2002) or Hustle & Flow (2005) but they do carry with them a level of incredible honesty. These are the struggles of someone who is serially undervalued but who nevertheless doesn't let the melodrama of her life define her. Moreover she includes fellow misfits (Dhananjay and Athie) in her odyssey – not for the sake of furthering a nothing career but to be a conduit for artistic expression.

Those who dispute Patti Cake$ is nothing more than a cliché-riddled Sundance célèbre aren't exactly wrong about this. One can certainly draw a thematic line between this and other feel-good tales like Sing Street (2016), Billy Elliot (2000) and Akeelah and the Bee (2006). Yet Patti Cake$ brings a grizzled authenticity to the well-worn formulas of underdog stories, and does so while showcasing some truly fun tunes co-written by director Geremy Jasper and Jason Binnick. I say If the purpose of cinema is to belay poetic justice in 120-minutes or less then Patti Cake$ should be considered rousing success.
12 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Names Define Lies
thirtyfivestories22 September 2017
Poetry seeps into the cracked pavement of New Jersey. Not in stanzas, but in bars. The poets do not recite their work, they spit it. Their lines are shanks with jagged edges. They draw blood through their opponent's insecurities. When a battle transpires, the participants sign on to gladiatorial bout that does not conclude until the loser lies motionless outside of a gas station.

Patti does not write for these moments, but these moments will cement her social standing. Resorting to ugliness empowers her rhymes with putrid fury. Even the knock off drug dealers affirm her fire. She is an insecure tyrant wary of haters, and drunk for admires. Her emerald dreams place her on a throne of excess, yet she wakes in a nicotine flavored home.

Her main man Jheri has the body shape of an anti-depressant. He has not abandoned his Indian roots, and pays homage to Bollywood exuberance in his verses. Paired with Patti, the duo slap out beats from her Chevy's hood, and belt out lamentations of Dirty Jersey life.

Patti's mother has her head in toilets all over town. Her daughter is her designated bartender and hair-holder. Barb was a hair rocker of yesterday, but now her records play in the cluttered kitchen, accompanied by drug store wine. Once a leach of men, now a leach of her dwindling family. Patti has to stomach her mother proclaim the two of them as "sisters".

Nana, Patti's grandmother, chain smokes her way to her deceased husband. Patti knows she loves limericks, so she composes a new one with each morning's brushstrokes. They are often lewd, but Nana is a sick old woman. Each bellowing laugh puts her soul closer lung failure, but they both know every bit helps.

"Superstar" is Patti's name in Nana's eyes. Her songs are crafted with supreme resentment. Her very existence is described as an accident, and her appearance is a giant piñata in a crowd of immature hoodlums. The chip on her shoulder is crater created by an asteroid the size of a scummy New England town. Barreling through these attacks, New York is only one break away.
7 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Patti Cakes Amazing movie!
writermarguerite26 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I just watched "Patti Cakes" since I'm not a rapper fan, at first I thought, oh boy. But then as I kept watching, I realized the movie was about rapping it was about a person going for their dream beyond all discouragement. It's a movie with a strong message about how we all need to keep going to pursue our dreams regardless of what they are or how the odds appear to be stacked against us!

It was perfect casting and the director made good choices. Keep making movies! Thank you!

Marguerite Fair (A Jersey girl who made it out of Jersey and into my true life!)
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A fun movie.
subxerogravity31 August 2017
Somewhere in-between 8 Mile and this Swedish film called We Are the Best (Go find it if you have not herd of it.), Lies PattiCakes. About a girl trying to make it in this Hip Hop game, but it's a hard climb for a heavy set white girl from the burbs trying to make her dreams come true. A better cry for feminist power than anything Jenifer Lawrence could ever put out as we watched the ultimate underdog story. A common story with an uncommon protagonist at the center. It has all the elements of a good sports movie but the competition is rap. My favorite part in the movie was when she and her odd rap crew are getting her record done. The whole creating process of making an album was really cool. Couldn't tell you if the words she spit were fire, but it does not matter, it's still a great musical journey and worth seeing for all fans of not just hip hop, but music.
6 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Watch it for Danielle Macdonald's sensational performance
Paul Allaer5 September 2017
"Patti Cake$" (2017 release; 108 min.) brings the story of aspiring New Jersey rap-artist Patricia Dombrowski. As the movie opens, she is being announced as Killa P. at a big rap show. Turns out our girl was dreaming in her sleep. She wakes up and we get to know her daily routine, working a crappy job at a crappy bar. She dreams of making it big, with help from her friend Jheri, himself stuck at a lousy job in a drug store. We also get to know her mom, who turns out was on the edge of making it herself as a musician 30 years ago, but alas just missed out on getting signed by a record label. And then there is Nana, who seems closer to death than she is alive. At this point we're 10 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the feature-length debut for writer-director Geremy Jasper (who previously has done various music videos). Here he tackles familiar territory, one that could be titled the female version of "8 Miles", albeit this movie is sweeter and ultimately more rewarding. The director captures the yearning of these Jersey kids perfectly, as they stare at the NY skyline and can't wait to get out of New Jersey. Beware: there is crass language throughout the movie, so if that is a problem for you, do yourself a favor and check out another movie. Australian plus-sized actress Danielle Macdonald is nothing short of sensational in the title role, and surely we have not seen the last of her. I was shocked to see in the end titles that Nana was played by none other than Cathy Moriarty, who is completely unrecognizable. Last but certainly not least, there is a ton of great music throughout the film (the original songs are written or co-written by Geremy Jasper), and check out also the Bruce Springsteen tune "The Time That Never Was" (from the 2015 The River Outtakes collection).

"Petti Cake$" premiered at this year's Sundance film festival to immediate critical acclaim, and I've been eagerly waiting to see it. It finally was released most recently, and I happen to catch it during a recent family visit in Belgium. The Wednesday early evening screening where I saw this at in Antwerp, Belgium, was attended nicely, I am happy to say. If you are in the mood for an empowering and even uplifting movie that is MILES away from your standard Hollywood fare, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.
5 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
What It Means to Chase Your Dreams
Hoekkie24 August 2017
Patricia Dombrowski is a weighty 23 year old woman in New Jersey. She lives with her mother, who regularly drinks too much. And also with her grandmother who is in need of care. Her dream, literally, is being a popular rap star, just like her idol OZ. If she reaches that, she will receive recognition and her family's scarcity will be history. Patricia has enough talent in writing poetic lyrics, but she doesn't have the looks or image of a rap star. In her neighborhood, she's often called by the nickname "Dumbo". So it's a tough challenge to make a name (as Killa P.) in the hip hop scene.

The power of this movie is how all the characters are elaborated upon and how they develop in the story. That makes this movie fascinating and not superficial or cliché, what you might expect. Various aspects are highlighted. Such as the barriers from family, the strength from friendship and the meaning of following your dreams from a life of scarcity. In trying to make a breakthrough she has to work hard, search for opportunities, invest, take risks and fight against prejudices. This struggle teaches her a lot about herself and others, like OZ and her mother.

The director and writer of Patti Cake$, Geremy Jasper, based the screenplay on his own life. He loves hip hop and through this movie he had the chance to create rap songs. The soundtrack has become great. And with his first feature film, he makes a fantastic debut.
7 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
MAMI Film Fest Review. Patti Cake$.
namashi_125 October 2017
Danielle Macdonald makes a Star-Making debut with 'Patti Cake$'. A weirdly fun film too, 'Patti Cake$' rides on Danielle's shoulders to deliver an amusing tale of a girl who dares to dream beyond the stereotype.

'Patti Cake$' Synopsis: A plus-sized white girl, Patricia "Dumbo" Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald), from Bergen County, New Jersey tries to seek fame and fortune as a rapper.

What works for 'Patti Cake$' is its interesting execution. I mean, its the same rags to riches story, but the treatment is done in a funny way. Patti's journey from a nobody to trying to be a somebody in the world of rapping, is amusing, highly abusive (of course) & sweet. Having said that, 'Patti Cake$' is a predictable story from start to end. I mean, one can predict the entire film ahead & there is no novelty here. I wish Writer-Director Geremy Jasper bought in some unpredictability here, as this story had the potential to venture into newer places. But alas, that doesn't happen at all! And that's okay, maybe I was expecting a little too much!

Jasper's Writing is decent, as the story progresses well, even though we all know where its headed. The protagonist is well-etched out & she's worth rooting for. Jasper's Direction is good. Cinematography, Editing & Costume Design, merit special mentions.

And now coming to showstopper - Danielle Macdonald. Her heroic portrayal of Patti is worth alone watching the film. She's brash, focused, fun & brave -- completely sinking her teeth into the part & brings it out flying colors. Macdonald dominates the show from start to end. Lending her superb support are Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay & A Fantastic Cathy Moriarty.

On the whole, the predictable 'Patti Cake$' is certainly not without its moments & proudly brings a new star in the horizon - Danielle Macdonald. Watch it for her.
3 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Loved it!
jaeger-9476111 November 2017
The 6.1 average is in my point of view very underrated for this movie. All the characters spoke to me and touched me. It's a great plot, great cast, great movie and amazing Patti. I couldn't believe she had to learn to rap for the movie. I loved her raps!! I really recommend this movie to anyone who have a heart for the underdogs.
6 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Sweet, funny, and inspiring -- an unexpected surprise
Paul Horne22 August 2017
I can now understand the 10-minute standing ovation at Cannes -- This is the kind of feel-good movie we all need to see right now. Major star turn for Danielle Macdonald, with top-notch performances from Cathy Moriarty, Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, and Mamoudou Athie, Hope this little film gets the wide release it deserves. I'm not a hip-hop fan, but I even love the soundtrack.
7 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
a wonderful New Jersey indie drama with a gigantic heart that earns it
MisterWhiplash21 August 2017
It could be easy enough to pitch Patti Cake$ - it's 8 Mile crossed with Precious: Based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire (and Precious even comes up as a dis during a rap battle Patti has with a would-be also white male rapper) - but the execution is what counts. The director is a first-time feature maker, and it's impressive work because he makes the style immediate and raw, but it's not so heavy that it becomes oppressive (which was sometimes the problem with Precious), and he clearly is from North Jersey. This may be a small point, but sometimes a filmmaker may come to an area to make a film and it can be clear or you can tell they are there because perhaps a location scout thought it had "local flavor" or something and it doesn't really pop from the place and time. This feels, smells and is the dirty North-East Jersey suburbs (frankly I should know, I'm from this part of the country, I even recognize the "Raceway Park" radio ad that plays briefly), and so when the drama happens in this story, which is the kind that goes back further than the Eminem or Sidibe films, it earns its sentiment because he get the entirely sensory overload of this lower-middle-working class Jersey life.

Patti is also played by an actress who damned if I could tell for a moment she's Australian, and at first makes Patti seem like a tough young broad - working at a bar, doing her raps, trying to find a way she can breakthrough in this world she's in - but there's also a plethora of vulnerability and a sadness that is always underneath the surface. Macdonald communicates this at times in ways you can tell but in other ways where it's just a look or how she puts her head down or doesn't say anything. She's also working off a strong supporting cast with Cathy Moriarty as "Nana", her grandmother (and, eventually, an unlikely member of the rap group she forms, "PB&J), and especially Bridgett Everett, Patti's drunk not-even-has-been singer mother, who is perfect casting. There are also the other members of "PB&J", Siddharth Dhananjay as Patti's best friend (kind of a discount Aziz Ansari) and Mamoudou Athie as a seemingly unlikely new friend who is a... black anarchist metal-screamer who is really a soft-spoken son of a lawyer(!)

The filmmaker does an excellent job bringing us into Patti's day-to- day struggles and conflicts, down to the basic things of how she'll bring in money to support Nana's medical bills and whether she can keep and get better at a catering job. There's little details about how a woman like Patti, who is big but certainly not ugly or unpleasant as a person, that show her trying to figure out how to navigate the world she's in even as she's had to get a tough skin (which she has, but sometimes she can get pierced through by bullies and the aholes around her); an example of this is how her mother tells her she should keep a button open around her boss to try to get in good with him, but he tells her to button it back up. Whether it's just being professional or if he doesn't find her attractive is left up to the viewer to decide. Lots of moments and little touches are so great here (i.e. the cop who plays blues but looks down on Patti for taking that particular black music) that it all adds up to being a rich experience.

There are a couple of flaws which I wanted to overlook - as a filmmaker myself this was the kind of movie I aspire to make overall - but couldn't. I didn't find the sub-plot, if that can be called, with the rap god that Patti looks up to, named Oz or something like that, and how he actually comes into the film (I won't spoil it, but it's that typical "don't meet your heroes" thing, which is fine, but the filmmaker goes too far with the contrivance). I also wanted to know more about the mother, why she didn't work (aside from the booze) and why it all made everything so hard on Patti, that was left unclear and not in a way that was satisfying. And near the end in the climax there are a couple of touches that seemed a little too neat and tidy.

But these are not major complaints, only things that I can't help but notice as they are touches that make it a little more conventional after a first half that seems to be so rich and even inspirational; my 8 Mile comparison isn't being facetious, though I'm sure a lot of other movies since Emimem's have tried. The heart here could be sentimental in other hands, but the hands that it's in understand how to take things to a grungier level so that what are conventions get elevated by the truth in the characters and actors and the atmosphere. We also love Patti and genuinely want her to succeed, so every little bump in the road (or the much bigger ones by the 2nd half) become all the more painful. On top of all this... the raps are mindblowing. Remarkable!
6 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
a good feeling from bad
David Ferguson23 August 2017
Greetings again from the darkness. A gritty, New Jersey based story of a blue-collar white girl trying to make it in hip-hop sounds like the makings of a film festival favorite – especially since it's the first feature from its director and it features a star-making turn from an unusual leading lady. After being warmly received at Sundance and Cannes (and other festivals), the only remaining question is, will mainstream audiences show the love?

The obvious comparison here is Eminem's 8 MILE, but there is also a touch of ROCKY, THE COMMITMENTS, and most all other sports and music movies featuring the dreams of those from 'the other side of the tracks'. Writer/director Geremy Jasper has a nice feel for setting and actors, and it's only the (at times) formulaic nature of the script that keeps this one in the crowd-pleasing category rather reaching a level of greatness.

Australian native Danielle Macdonald plays Patti Dombrowski, also known as Killa P, and most every other cruel nickname (Dumbo, White Precious) one might pin on a plus-sized Anglo girl found street rapping. As you would expect, her tough outer visage masks an all- too-familiar inner insecurity borne from a larger than life mother who blames her daughter for every misery in life. Bridget Everett plays the mother Barb, a hard-drinking, hard-singing, hard-blaming type who gives such sterling mother advice as 'lose the top button' for that job interview. Mother Barb, providing proof of her distance from reality, refers to herself and daughter Patti as "the Dombrowski sisters", whom she claims are "setting the world on fire".

The tenuous mother-daughter relationship is at the core of the film, and these two actresses (and the movie) are at their best in their scenes together. On the music side, Siddarth Dhananjay plays Jhen, Patti's eternal optimist-pharmacist-music partner, while Mamoudou Athie is Basterd, a self-proclaimed anti-Christ anarchist. The three form a band called PB&J (Patti, Basterd, Jhen) which provides friendship, a creative release, and, mostly, a reason for existence. Their band, and especially Patti, gets a boost from Nana (a remarkable Cathy Moriarty) on vocals and the CD cover. Ms. Moriarty is now 56 years old (playing older here), and was only 19 when she made her stunning screen debut in RAGING BULL. Other supporting work is provided by MC Lyte, Wass Stevens and Sahr Ngaujah.

The neighborhood is Bayonne New Jersey (see CHUCK), an area where lines such as "blood is thicker than Jager" actually make sense. A 23 year old would-be rapper can work as a bartender and caterer, and still find time to hone her musical skills. It's the land of misfits and music that only sounds sweet to a few ears - where dreams don't consist of owning yacht, but rather "making it across the bridge". Crowd- pleasing movies are quite welcome these days, and filmmaker Jasper has joined with dynamite actresses Macdonald and Everett in delivering just that. Expect all to reach greater heights over the next few years.
4 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Definitely a 'feel good' movie, unless you're the type of person that likes bullying and harassing outcast dreamers.
Hellmant22 September 2017
'PATTI CAKE$': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

An indie drama written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Geremy Jasper. It tells the story of a plus-sized white woman, in New Jersey, who desperately wants to be a successful rapper. It stars Danielle Macdonald (in the title role), Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, Cathy Moriarty and McCaul Lombardi. The film was made on a budget of just $1 million, and it premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. It's gotten mostly positive reviews from critics, and it was released in indie theaters by Fox Searchlight Pictures. I found it to be extremely inspiring and moving.

Patti Dombrowski (Macdonald) is a young white woman that lives in Bergen County, New Jersey; with her mother Barb (Everett) and her grandmother Nana (Moriarty). She works as a bartender, at a local dive bar, and dreams of becoming a famous rapper. Patti attempts to make her dreams come true, in the music business, with the help of her friend Jheri (Dhananjay), but she constantly faces hate and harassment from nearly everyone in her neighborhood. Then Patti meets another struggling rap artist, named Basterd (Athie), that inspires her again.

The film is a classic underdog story, that actually has some likable rap music in it (and I'm not a big fan of the genre). Macdonald is great in the lead, and her character couldn't be more relatable (to an outcast dreamer like myself at least). I was totally moved by the movie, especially by it's passionate conclusion. It's the type of film that just keeps building and building, on an emotional dramatic level, and by the climax you really want to see a happy ending. It's definitely an inspiring 'feel good' movie as well, in my opinion, that I think almost anyone could enjoy. Unless you're the type of person that likes bullying and harassing outcast dreamers.

Watch an episode of our movie review show 'MOVIE TALK' at:
5 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The rapping was phenomenal
doguehaus30 August 2017
I really enjoyed this movie. The only part that I didn't care for was the dream sequences I could've done with less of those however although it started slow it movie ended with a bang and I thought it was well done and fantastic .

When I heard about this movie I researched it and was disappointed to find out that it was not playing in my area so I had to drive an hour out of my way to be able to see it but I am very glad that I did. Reminded me a little of 8 mile and the rapping is fantastic, I'm going to download those songs from iTunes

As for her cohort in crime Siddharth Dhananjay did a phenomenal job as well! Great performance !
5 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
She's a fascinating modern girl: talented, ambitious, and heavy.
jdesando29 August 2017
You don't have to like rap music or plus-sized women to like Geremy Jasper's gritty Patti Cake$. The story of working-class North Jersey girl Patti (Danielle Macdonald) working through the challenges of poverty, dead-end jobs, and family dysfunction to become a rapper is alternately clichéd, sentimental, and poignant.

If it weren't about rap, it would be about any other impoverished young woman pursuing her dream despite the daunting Newark world. Think 8 Mile and the ultimate working-class to riches, Rocky.

Her dogged pursuit is uplifting where another overweight young woman might fold hearing the regular shout-outs calling her "Dumbo." Where in Precious the audience might be aware of Precious's weight, here Patti's movement out of poverty is the major concern. In fact, she has been called "White Precious." Fortunately, she has boyfriends and male colleagues who believe in her talent and in some cases love her.

It's not that Patti is lovable because Jasper's script does not allow her to be sweet. It's just that she makes sacrifices for her dying grandma and washed-up singer mom while she also nurtures her band, PBnJ, to where they can have the minor break on a local stage they have longed for.

Special note for actress Danielle Macdonald: Amazingly you are not a Joiesy girl, you are from Australia; you are not a rapper, you are a fine actress who can believably rap with the best. For those of us who love classical music and mid-20thcentury folk, as I listen to the layers of culture in each rap song, I believe I could become a believer. Not enough songs, however, in this film.

I should not forget to praise the soundtrack from Bruce Springsteen to unknown hip hop—it is full of the joy Patti has for her poetry; we just need to give her a chance.
5 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Killa P slays! PBNJ is a delight!
kz917-15 February 2018
What to say about this movie.

Reality sure does bite in NJ.

Patti is trying to do it all help care for her Nana and look after her mother.

The fact that they put her Nana up to singing the hook was fantastic!

Many laughable but gritty moments throughout the entire film.

If explicit language won't bother you the film is worth a watch.

It is amazing that the lead actress took two years before filming to hone her rapping skills!
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Rap music!!! It's a piece of cake for Patti Cakes!!!
Reno Rangan4 February 2018
This is the new word they are referring for such film, the underdog. I watch lots of film other than mainstream, like indie, B, foreign. And I won't always end up a smile in my face. Most of them would be decent, only a very few disappoints. But it's rare that I feel very impressed. Here is the one! This is surely a find of the year. I've seen a couple of other great ones, I mean underdog films, but this one I don't know how to express what I've felt. Definitely inspiring theme, despite the setting of the tale was not appropriate for average decency of what society accepts. But there's nothing to complain about that, because such story possible in such scenario. So what matters is how beautifully it was brought onto the screen. Hats off team 'Patti Cake$'.

It has an Indian connection. That was nicely done part. Because of todays state of United States. So basically the film revolved around such characters who are victimised for several reasons. And one of it was socially backward. I meant financially. From all, Patricia Dombrowski aka Patti Cake, is trying to reach her dream with fierce competition from others in the bottom itself. She has all the backing from her close friend Jheri, and they are set to add another one called Basterd. Now these three are making their first recording. Following that, their road to unfamiliar territory sees some stumble. They have to overcome it, but would they or not is what disclosed in the finale.

-xX] You don't have a musical bone in your body, and you sure as hell can't sing. [Xx-

You can make a film if you have got a minimum financial support. Then the production quality differs, you won't get your desired cast and crew. Even if you see this film's poster, not impressive enough. But if you judge the film by its cover, then you are totally wrong. One of the least watched genre for me is music and musical. The modern musicals usually gives me a headache. So I've liked, loved many music films. This is definitely one of the top on that list. Don't listen to those with intentionally targeting it. It is a fine film, but I'm not sure it is a good for family with children viewing, due to the lyrics of the songs. But if you have all matured enough, then no need to worry, worth giving it a try.

Feature film debut for the director, and he had landed in a style. Such talent should be nourished, so somebody (the big production houses) give him a chance and he won't let you down. The cast was amazing. I don't know whether they are real rappers or has a little influence, but they all have given a wonderful performance. On the way to cult movie status. I strongly recommend it. It will give you a break from mainstream film, if you are faded-up with the same old concepts. You would end humming a track from the flick, probably PBNJ as I was. So fix your date and time for it!

1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews