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My Beautiful Laundrette Reviews

An offbeat winner. Director Stephen Frears and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi have fashioned a wonderfully fresh examination of the political and racial climate of Margaret Thatcher's Britain. Omar (Gordon Warnecke) is a young Pakistani living in London with his father (Roshan Seth), a drunk who was previously one of Pakistan's leading intellectuals. When Papa asks his brother Nasser (Saeed Jaffrey), an underworld crime boss, to find work for Omar, Nasser makes him the manager of a run-down laundrette, and Omar enterprisingly employs Johnny (Daniel Day Lewis), a London street punk and boyhood friend whom he has not seen since Johnny joined a fascist group. In addition to becoming work partners, Omar and Johnny also become lovers. In the meantime, Johnny's friends have turned against him, baffled by his devotion to the "Pakis." Kureishi has come up with at least a half-dozen complex characters whose lives are brilliantly woven together in the film's relatively short 93 minutes. Amidst all the conflicts of racism, sexuality, bigotry, violence, and politics, MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE still manages to be humorous and entertaining, largely because of Frears's skill as a director and marvelous performances all round. Beautifully handled, warmly intelligent and insightful, extremely entertaining.