Thoughts on My Beautiful Laundrette

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 5:13 PM By Simon

-Racial and class tensions between upperclass Pakistanis and white, working class Londoners (is that a word?), embodied in the gay relationship between ambitious, aspiring businessman Omar (Gordon Warnecke, who has an odd, overly-eager smile that, when not full-out smacked on his face, is dancing about his lips unsettling. Seriously, I don't know what I think of his performance) and childhood friend Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis, who would be fantastic as always, despite this being his pre-method days, if I weren't so mesmerized by his bleached hair. This is the eighties, sure, but holy shit), a former right wing extremist who begins working for Omar at the eponymous laundrette his uncle tasked him with bringing back to life, thereby quickly resuming their old fling.

-I love how the taboo isn't in the gay relationship (the people who do know don't seem to care, and the people who don't, but suspect, don't seem too perturbed by it either, but that could be chalked to 'just a suspicion', which is odd, as they aren't exactly quiet about it), but the different socio-economic backgrounds of the two. It's rather refreshing, considering this was an eighties movie (and, by definition, an infantryman in the defense of my mortal enemy).

-A rather sweet, still-topical movie, despite the complete lack of believable comflict--Johnny's old gang keeps hanging around, eventually beating down Johnny, who comes in defense of certified asshole, drug dealer and uncle (not the one who gave the laundrette) or something to Omar, Salim, and shit gets bloody, but you never believe anyone's going to die (at least I didn't). Same with every conflict in Johnny and Omar's relationship, it's believable that such squabbles would happen, but...

-Am I the only one who finds it weird that, in relatively-modern Britain (ahem), Omar would meet his paternal first cousin Tania (played as bored and desperate to not be by Rita Wolf), and then everyone, family, the two themselves, talk about them getting married, as a very real notion. They are cousins. Not third-removed-on-my-great-aunt's-side cousins, cousins like his dad is her uncle, and her dad is his uncle, and they might as well give each other blood transfusions, they are so genetically matched.

-Daniel Day-Lewis is funny when he's being threatening and actually meaning it.


SugaryCynic said...

I remember seeing half of this on tv and just being totally unable to take my eyes of that which was Daniel Day-Lewis's hair

July 20, 2010 at 8:21 PM
Simon said...

It was glorious, wasn't it?

July 20, 2010 at 8:23 PM
Franz Patrick said...

I remember watching this movie and liking it... but I don't remember specifics. Except for when they (have passionate) kiss.

July 20, 2010 at 9:27 PM
Frank said...

Day-Lewis can do no wrong.

July 22, 2010 at 2:30 PM
Dear said...

I do not think the first cousin thing is so surprising. My Moroccan-living-in-France relatives might suggest that I marry my first cousin (as my grandparents did, and my grandparents' grandparents, etc.), except that he's a lot younger than me and also they've met me and understand that it's a risible idea.

July 22, 2010 at 4:26 PM