This movie is so thoroughly worth it. It would be worth it if it were just an hour and a half about a sprawling British-Pakistani family’s business and personal ventures in 1985 London. It would be worth it if it were just for young Daniel Day Lewis as a South London punk with his sleeves pushed up five inches past his elbows. It would be worth it for anything anyone in this movie says about politics or the immigrant experience or economics or education or, incidentally, worth. It would be worth it just for how well it serves its female characters. It would be worth it just for Tania, honestly.
But My Beautiful Laundrette is worth it for all these things, and more. Let’s say: the moment when suddenly, softly, Johnny takes Omar’s face in his hands and kisses him deeply in the shadows of an alley, and even though you know this is coming, all the pieces in your heart fall into place at the sight. Do you know what’s the 1980s period update on Maurice‘s gay British class porn I didn’t know I needed? Sweet, ambitious young Pakistani laundromat owner in his little suits, and his lease-less white street punk boyfriend who’s fixing up his shop, a spot of blue paint on his cheek. And because it’s My Beautiful Laundrette, they’ll even talk and flirt and fight about their criss-crossing class differences, because My Beautiful Laundrette goes all in always.
Now, while extremely worth it, that is not say this is a perfect piece of filmmaking. There is a lack of finesse in the editing that does jumble up the emotional flow at times. It’s that slightly thrown feeling you get from missing a reaction shot we needed, or taking too long with one thing and then not long enough with something else. I desperately want to fix it, which speaks to the rest of the movie’s great strength. There’s so much that is so good, that things like poor editing make you rage a little because you just want to pull everything up to that level.
Which is why we are swoopy with excitement over the recent news that Kumail Nanjiani is developing My Beautiful Laundrette into a TV series. What a very, very good idea. Would I have spent 8+ hours with these characters? Immediately. Thank you Kumail you are a true bro and scholar. Hire a good editor. Also if we’re scaling up the ages to match yours, hire Tom Hardy. Thanks again.