My Son The Fanatic

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy, Drama

This charming movie about cross-cultural assimilation and intergenerational struggle in contemporary England may not always live up to its brilliant opening scene, in which Parvez (Om Puri), the epitome of oblivious fatherhood, meets his stuffy English in-laws-to-be. But it's a winner nonetheless. Parvez, a Pakistani taxi driver engaged in offhanded pimping...read more

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Reviewed by Sandra Contreras
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This charming movie about cross-cultural assimilation and intergenerational struggle in contemporary England may not always live up to its brilliant opening scene, in which Parvez (Om Puri), the epitome of oblivious fatherhood, meets his stuffy English

in-laws-to-be. But it's a winner nonetheless. Parvez, a Pakistani taxi driver engaged in offhanded pimping in a bleak Northern English town, ambles into a middle age crisis that finds him falling in love with gentle prostitute Bettina (Rachel Griffiths) and increasingly estranged from his dutiful

wife Minoo (Gopi Desai) and strident son Farid (Akbar Kurtha). Farid, engaged to the daughter of a local constable and headed to university, veers off the path of assimilation after experiencing the casual racism of the girl's parents. He's the first to realize that the family's 25 years in

England hasn't assured them of acceptance, and this bitter disappointment drives him back to core Muslim values, a rebellion against his father's largely atheistic, freewheeling attitude. When unfortunately named German businessman Shitz (Stellan Skarsgard) gets into Parvaz's cab preaching the

religion of unbridled hedonism, his stable life of whiskey and Louis Armstrong tunes begins to unravel. You may not know Indian actor Puri, but you should: His performance here is outstanding. His Parvez is a man full of contradictions, simultaneously whimsical and crotchety. He convincingly

conveys Parvez's impossible position, wedged between an unrecoverable past and a rapidly changing present; between his son's hostile fundamentalism and his burgeoning love for Bettina. Oscar nominee Griffiths brings surprising credibility to her hooker-with-a-heart of gold role. If Hanif

Kureishi's screenplay overplays the schisms and character quirks for the sake of clarity and laughs, you'll probably forgive him. And director Udayan Prasad's warm-hearted but never soft handling of thorny family dynamics and the fragile love story is truly accomplished.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: R
  • Review: This charming movie about cross-cultural assimilation and intergenerational struggle in contemporary England may not always live up to its brilliant opening scene, in which Parvez (Om Puri), the epitome of oblivious fatherhood, meets his stuffy English in… (more)

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