My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)
Critic Consensus: My Beautiful Laundrette is fast and all over the place because it has so much to say, and show, including a highly watchable fresh-faced Daniel Day-Lewis.
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as Omar Ali
as Jamaican One
as Jamaican Two
as dick O'donnell
as Cherry, Salim's Wife
as Nasser's Elder Daughter
as Nasser's Younger Daughter
as Dick O'Donnell
as Girl in Disco
as Gang Member
as Gang Member
as Telephone Man
as `Madame Butterfly' Man
as Zaki's Wife
Critic Reviews for My Beautiful Laundrette
A brutally funny social comedy about the racial and social consequences of a Pakistani and an Englishman going into business and becoming lovers.
"My Beautiful Laundrette" is quirky and fresh and ambitious and pretty much everything a movie should be, except good.
It's Daniel Day Lewis, taut, intelligent, erotic, who is an emerging star.
Fast, bold, harsh and primitive like a prodigious student film with equal parts promise and threat.
This is a uniquely plausible portrait of life in England, yet its appeal isn't limited to social realism -- it also has a twist of buoyant fantasy and romance
Audience Reviews for My Beautiful Laundrette
I have seen this film on several "100 Best Films" lists (well, for sub-genres), but I just don't get it. Other than having progressive social messages, there's little that keeps the film from being a complete washout. The acting is not impressive -- and indeed, the main star (Warnecke) has an impenetrable, silly smile for no reason throughout the film, even when a smile is completely out of synch with what's going on around him. The cinematography, editing, sound and everything else technical sinks to the level of your typical 1980's "B movie". Even the opening credits are ineffective novelties, with titles spinning around like they're going down the drain with the rest of the movie. And the writing! Nothing is adequately explained other than the point that both Pakistani immigrants and blue collar street toughs perceive themselves to be disadvantaged by each other. Romances and sexuality issues come out of nowhere and subsequently disappear without even seeming to register on Warnecke's silly grin. I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone other than film historians who care about its influence on 1980's British cinema because it sure ain't enjoyable otherwise.
Within the context of film history, this film is surely important as a pioneer in discussion homosexuality in a straight-forward, even endorsing, manner. But I can't help noticing that the dialogue is stolid and expository. Additionally, the gay relationship is not adequately set up. We get no looks of longing or attraction between Omar and Johnny; they rather suddenly kiss. No matter the sexuality of the relationship, the audience needs some clue about the characters' objectives. With Warnecke's performance, it is almost impossible to tell anything about his character's emotional life because during much of his screen time he has a plastic, "I-smile-just-because" grin, which often belies the events going on around him. Finally, we get a lot of generalized complaints about "this country," and the anti-Pakistani sentiment is revealed, but is this only what the complaints refer to? I shouldn't have to ask this question. I think the biggest surprise about this film isn't the gay relationship but the fact that this was nominated for Best Screenplay.
Had to watch it for a film class. Might not have watched it otherwise.