My Beautiful Laundrette | Chicago Reader

My Beautiful Laundrette

97 minutes

Directed for television by Stephen Frears (The Hit) from a scenario by playwright Hanif Kureishi, this is a uniquely plausible portrait of life in England, yet its appeal isn't limited to social realism—it also has a twist of buoyant fantasy and romance (1986). Omar, a Pakistani student, charms his wealthy uncle into letting him take over one of his less successful enterprises—a crud-caked launderette in a questionable South London neighborhood. He solicits the help of Johnny, an old school buddy grown into a surly street tough, and as their plans for the business take shape they fall in love. Frears doesn't treat the gay relationship as anything remarkable—which makes the film itself remarkable—but simply as a surge of encouraging human feeling against a background of economic devastation and racial divisiveness. With Daniel Day-Lewis, Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, Gordon Warnecke, and Shirley Anne Field. 97 min.

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