Review: ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’

Tale of profiteering middle-class Pakistani capitalists making a fortune out of unscrupulous wheeling and dealing in an impoverished London.

Tale of profiteering middle-class Pakistani capitalists making a fortune out of unscrupulous wheeling and dealing in an impoverished London.

Focus is on two youths, friends from schooldays. Johnny is a working-class white whose punkish mates are members of the National Front. Omar lives with his left-leaning widower father in a rundown house by the railway line.

When the film begins, Omar is given a menial job by his wealthy uncle, Nasser. He likes young Omar and gives him a rundown laundrette which he and Johnny convert into a veritable palace of a place, complete with video screens. Meanwhile, a repressed love blossoms between Omar and Johnny, adding tension to the already volatile racial situation.

As always, director Stephen Frears does a superb job of work when given a good script, and this is a very good script. It’s peopled with interesting characters, allowing for a gallery of fine performances and situations.

1986: Nomination: Best Original Screenplay

My Beautiful Laundrette

UK

Production

Working Title/SAF/Channel Four. Director Stephen Frears; Producer Sarah Radclyffe, Tim Bevan; Screenplay Hanif Kureishi; Camera Oliver Stapleton; Editor Mick Audsley; Music Hans Zimmer, Stanley Myers; Art Director Hugo Luczyc Wyhowski

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1985. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Daniel Day Lewis Gordon Warnecke Saeed Jaffrey Roshan Seth Shirley Anne Field Derrick Branche

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