My Beautiful Laundrette (1985, Stephen Frears)

I’ve already done enough damage with this one, so I’ll be brief.

Golly-gee Omar used to date his punker racist friend Johnny (Daniel-Day Lewis in his first good role?), sees him again in a dark scary tunnel and they get back together. Help run O’s uncle’s laundromat, paying for renovations by stealing from uncle’s actual business, drug-running. Omar’s father is spaced-out-and-dreamy sick old man Roshan Seth (Monsoon Wedding, Temple of Doom) and uncle is Saeed Jaffrey (man who would be king). Omar gets on power trip, has some “reverse” racist moments with Daniel-Day, and flirts with a female cousin.

Something seems off throughout – nobody is quite behaving normally, and the camera work is slightly absurd (clean, shining, colorful images), and there are soap bubble sound effects on the soundtrack. I didn’t know what to make of it all.

Writer Hanif Kureishi was also the source of Patrice Chéreau’s Intimacy.

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