The strength of the film is its vision - cutting, compassionate and sometimes hilarious - of what it means to be Asian, and British, in Thatcher's Britain.
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It’s the committed turn from Day-Lewis and Hanif Kureishi’s socially-astute, Oscar-nominated screenplay that manages to compensate for the film’s technical shortcomings, alongside the (then) landmark casual representation of a gay relationship on screen.
My Beautiful Laundrette is still fresh and remains a model case for creating moving, liberating cinema from an oppressive environment. It’s every bit the landmark gay film it deserves to be.
The movie has elements of a coming-of-age saga, a gay romance, a drug-smuggling thriller, and a redemption tale, but it works first and foremost as a portrait of a milieu that had previously been all but invisible onscreen, and that remains so to this day.
A movie like this lives or dies with its performances, and the actors in My Beautiful Laundrette are a fascinating group of unknowns.
Nothing prepares us adequately for the cool of his screenwriter, 29-year-old Hanif Kureishi, nor for the audacity, complexity and depth of his themes.
My Beautiful Laundrette has the broad scope and the easy pace that one associates with our best theatrical films. It puts its own truth above the fear of possibly offending someone. Without showing off, it has courage as well as artistry. A fascinating, eccentric, very personal movie.
At times puzzling due to the diverse panorama of subject matter, the film nevertheless corners touchy issues more than it flinches them.