In case you'd forgotten, My Beautiful Laundrette
will remind you of those mid-80s days when Thatcherism ruled the earth (or so it seemed) and money was king. Stephen Frears' low-budget realisation of Hanif Kureishi's subversively critical play captures the contradictions of that time in a way that's as fresh today as when it was new. Omar's wheeler-dealer uncle, Nasser (Saeed Jaffrey), sums it up when he says, "In this damn country, which we hate and love, you can get anything you want". He sets up Omar (Gordon Warnecke) with a rundown laundrette and the instruction to make it a success, which Omar temporarily does, with the help of his childhood friend Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis). When the film first came out, it was the gay content that dominated the column inches, whereas now it seems a sensitive and multi-faceted summation of its decade, exploring social, ethnic and sexual issues and contradictions. Bringing together two such different characters as Omar--Asian, ambitious, for whom success is defined by wealth--and former childhood friend Johnny--white trash, ex-National Front--was inspired. Watching their friendship develop into love, and the ensuing bitterness and misunderstanding that they suffer from friends and family is very poignant. All the lead roles are well taken, the contradictory character of Nasser in particular. By turns, funny, touching and anger-inducing, this is a movie that wears its age lightly and its era proudly.
On the DVD: the picture is in 4:3 ratio with a Dolby Digital soundtrack. There's an original trailer and filmographies of the four main characters, with an additional biography for Day-Lewis. --Harriet Smith
Omar (Gordon Warnecke) is a young Asian man whose new responsibility is to vamp up his uncle's (Saeed Jaffrey) launderette. With the help of Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis), an old school friend and ex-National Front thug, Omar begins to succeed in his aim. He and Johnny become lovers, resulting in a riot of abuse from Johnny's ex-associates - who are perturbed by his association with 'the enemy'.