Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Slumdog Millionaire

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Profanity:Very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and situations including rape
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking, drug use
Violence/Scariness:Very graphic violence includes extremely disturbing child abuse, rape, mutilation, gangster violence, police brutality
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:November 12, 2008
DVD Release Date:March 31, 2009
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Profanity: Very strong language
Nudity/Sex: Sexual references and situations including rape
Alcohol/Drugs: Drinking, smoking, drug use
Violence/Scariness: Very graphic violence includes extremely disturbing child abuse, rape, mutilation, gangster violence, police brutality
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date: November 12, 2008
DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009

Like its title character, this film has had highly improbable success, ending up with the Best Picture Oscar for 2008. The title character is Jamal (Dev Patel) a “slumdog” orphan child who grew up in the streets of Mumbai and works as a “chai wallah,” delivering drinks to the workers at a call center. When he manages to be not only a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” but manages to answer the questions correctly, everyone thinks he must be cheating. He has had no education and seen very little of the world. How could he know all the answers?

As it does in every country, it starts off with the easy ones. Who was the star of “Zanjeer?” You might as well ask an American child who was in “High School Musical,” that is if “High School Musical” or “Hannah Montana” starred some star who was a combination of Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jordan. What is interesting there is not that Jamal knows the answer but how important that answer is to him. As we find out how much the star of that film meant to Jamal as a child (played by Ayush Mahesh Khedekar), we learn about his sense of integrity and capacity for devotion. And then we go back to the show, and each question and answer leads us to another story from Jamal’s life.

Advertisement

After their mother is killed by anti-Muslim fanatics, Jamal, his brother Salim (Madhur Mittal), and his friend Latika (Freida Pinto) go on the run to stay safe. They are befriended by a man who turns out to be a heartless exploiter of children, turning them into beggars and prostitutes and subjecting them to the most horrific abuse imaginable. Jamal and Salim escape, but Latika is left behind.

For a while, Salim and Jamal make a living leading tourists through the Taj Mahal, making up “facts” about its history, something of a counterpoint to the “facts” he is able to draw later as a contestant on for the show. But the man they escaped from is still after them. And Jamal never gives up on finding Latika again.

Advertisement

The contrast between the fairy tale element of the story and the heart-wrenching harshness of Jamal’s circumstances make the environment as vivid and central a character as any human in the story. The music, the textures, the intensity of images and colors, the juxtaposition of the bleakest poverty and the most brutal cruelty with the most tender but enduring feelings of love and hope are what make this film feel like a triumph of joy over despair.

Previous Posts

Rent This Instead: A Better Ed Helms Raunchy Comedy (that isn't "Hangover")
"Vacation" is a gross, dumb disappointment. If you want to see Ed Helms in a much better raunchy comedy, try the neglected gem Cedar Rapids. Helms plays a mild-mannered, small town insurance guy who is tapped at the last minute to go to the ...

posted 3:05:56pm Jul. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Superhero Origami
DC Super Heroes Origami: 46 Folding Projects for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and More! is filled with great craft projects that incorporate some sneaky math lessons into origami versions of iconic ...

posted 8:00:34am Jul. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation
You think you've seen it before? Well, it is a familiar situation. Hitchcock had an assassin waiting in a concert hall for the right moment to ...

posted 5:54:06pm Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Best of Enemies
Once upon a time, network television news was dignified, objective, and delivered in stentorian, voice-of-God tones by white, vaguely Protestant men, ...

posted 5:23:39pm Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Exclusive Premiere Images: Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism
Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism is now a film starring Dominic Monaghan ("The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"), ...

posted 4:57:43pm Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.