Beliefnet
Idol Chatter


poster-slumdogmillionaire.jpg“Slumdog Millionaire”
has certainly made it to many end-of-the-year top 10 movie lists and even here at Idol Chatter there has been heaps of praise for its inspirational storyline. 

So, when I finally braved yet another snowstorm to go see it, I was not only disappointed in the film, but I also realized I was now going to seem like a heartless Scrooge for criticizing thie numerous flaws of this movie.  While the premise is somewhat clever, the story is not entirely successful as a romantic drama, a social commentary, or even a root-for-the-underdog melodrama.

“Slumdog” takes audiences into the harsh world of Jamal, a boy living in the slums of India who, as a young man, finds himself on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”  Through flashback after flashback after…yawn…another flashback, the audience learns how he ended up on the game show and how an uneducated kid from the slums knew all the answers to the quiz show’s questions.

It’s not that I don’t feel empathy for the main character, Jamal. It’s not that I have zero compassion for the impoverished of India, but “Slumdog,” for all its good intentions, does not give me new insight into India.  This movie didn’t work for me because it repeatedly beat me over the head with graphic images of torture and abuse inflicted by cartoonish, one-dimensional characters without giving me any sense of  adding to the deeper thematic elements the film seems to be  striving for.

“Slumdog” does have what will be considered a happy ending even though there is only the slightest of growth in Jamal’s character. after such a long personal ourney  That’s the other issue I have with this movie. If this movie is to be admired for a story of redemption or hope, the story needs more  substance  that leads to character -and audience -transformation. Winning lots and lots of money does not equal transformation and neither does finally getting the girl–both key points to the movie’s resolution.

Even as I write this, I feel I am being a bit harsh on an unlikely movie that has clearly touched many people.  Then again, I have so many other quibbles with this film that I am going to let this review be my final answer.

Previous Posts
Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus