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My Beautiful Laundrette Movie Review

day lewis film omar

My Beautiful Laundrette was a landmark film for Daniel Day-Lewis, Stephen Frears, and Hanif Kureishi, but not alas, for the appealing Gordon Warnecke, who plays Omar, the central character. (He would make an appearance, along with Fergie impersonator Pippa Hinchley, in Kureishi's London Kills Me six years later.) Omar remodels a seedy laundry with his friend Johnny (Day-Lewis) and they turn it into a stylish moneymaker. The stunner for international audiences of 1985 was that Frears revealed the expression of Omar's and Johnny's sexuality in such unstressed fashion. And because it is unstressed, its impact on gay cinema was enormous. Prior to Laundrette, a gay relationship in a movie was either A Joke or A Big Deal. In Laundrette, it was neither. It was simply a part of the story. Kureishi's screenplay pays far more attention to how and where Pakistani workers fit into the conservative British economy that endured from 1979–97. (By stunning coincidence, it was a time when the Royal Family acted out the most, perhaps functioning as distracting national jesters for Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Major?) Also included is a demonstration of how magic affects the affair of Omar's married uncle and his lady friend Rachel (Shirley Anne Field), who sighs, “Your wife is a very clever woman.” A rich, meticulously rendered film with a marvelous cast. Cast Note: Day-Lewis, the son of Poet-Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis and actress Jill Balcon, made his film debut at age 14 in Sunday Bloody Sunday. He married writer/director Rebecca (1994's Angela) Miller after appearing in the 1996 film of playwright Arthur Miller's The Crucible.

1985 (R) 93m/C GB Gordon Warnecke, Daniel Day-Lewis, Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, Shirley Anne Field, Derrick Branche, Rita Wolf, Souad Faress, Richard Graham, Dudley Thomas, Garry Cooper, Charu Bala Choksi, Neil Cunningham, Walter Donohue, Stephen Marcus, Badi Uzzaman; D: Stephen Frears; W: Hanif Kureishi; C: Oliver Stapleton; M: Ludus Tonalis, Stanley Myers. National Board of Review Awards ‘86: Best Supporting Actor (Day-Lewis); New York Film Critics Awards ‘86: Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Day-Lewis); National Society of Film Critics Awards ‘86: Best Screenplay; Nominations: Academy Awards ‘86: Best Original Screenplay. VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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