Truth be told, this review wasn’t originally written for this blog. But why not post it anyway, ya know? And take it from me, whether I posted this while it was on the top 5 box office hits, or a couple years from now when the heat and popularity of this film has died down (except for the actors in them), this still would’ve read the same way. Meaning–I watch new and old movies all the time. Sometimes I find the “classic” gems decades after they were discovered, and sometimes I’m at the midnight showing of the next big thing. And then I go on to tell you why I think it was or wasn’t something worth spending time (and money) on. Everyone has opinions, why not check out an unbiased one? (That means I don’t get paid… yet.) So on with the review!
I’m sure you heard about the movie and all it’s hype about how wonderful it is. The feel goodery of the year! Well, I’m here to tell you, in my honest opinion, it’s true and deserved. This movie is worth all the publicity it has been receiving this past award season. And it’s appropriately titled! The underdog Slumdog Millionaire took home millions, indeed. Probably close to billions now. I’d check, but that requires fact-checking that I don’t feel like verifying right now (even though for my real job, that’s what I get paid to do).
So what’s so great about this flick that seemed to come out of nowhere (which is how some people view independent and/or foreign films) and took over box offices, swept award shows, and won over the hearts of critics everywhere? Possibly everything. It’s a story about a poor, uneducated young man from the slums of India who managed to get on the most popular game show in the world. Not only that… but he’s managed to climb to the top, where scholars and learned men before have failed. How has he done this? Did he cheat? Is he psychic? Is it an elaborate dream? Where was he the night of the 23rd? The local law enforcement wants to know! I’m sure you do too if you’ve picked up this movie wondering the same thing.
This film follows the non-linear format–jumping from present, to different points in his past, back to the present, past, back to the future, and everywhere in between until it gets to the very last question. Time stops for a little while for a couple reasons that I rather not say for spoiler’s sake… but it’s nice. The story is considered to be that of a love story as our hero, Jamal, tries desperate to find the girl of his destiny, Latika, who keeps slipping away. Does he find her? Does he ever confess his love for her? Does she love him like he loves her? Does she have a thing for yellow? The local law enforcement doesn’t ask him these questions.
Overall, I loved the story and the way it was told. I recommend applying the subtitles/closed captions if you have a hard time with strong accents. The majority is in English, and when they speak Hindi, subtitles are provided, but in tiny letters (depending on how far away from the screen you are, and the size of said screen). It’s rated R, mostly for some language and violence. It’s okay for kids as long as some parental figure is around for the younger ones for possible inevitable “why did he do that to him/her?” questions. The dance and title sequence at the end is a great cake icing for this colorful movie. For me, this movie is worth adding to my collection, but as always, I recommend renting first. Unfortunately, the copy I had did not contain special features other than trailers to movies I did not like. I’d complain to my renting agency, but that falls in the category of fact-checking and other things I don’t feel like doing today.