My beaU­ti­FUl laUn­drette

film ex­tras 1985 Out nOw Dual For­mat Ex­tras Doc­u­men­tary, Short film, In­ter­views, Book­let

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An­other spin for Stephen Frears’ timely drama.

Have things re­ally changed that much since 1985? The over­whelm­ing sense of fa­mil­iar­ity that ac­com­pa­nies My Beau­ti­ful Laun­drette more than 30 years af­ter its re­lease sug­gests not. A coun­try split by ra­cial ten­sion, a gran­ite-jawed Tory PM, even the un­der­played gay love story… If it weren’t for the odd dodgy dip dye, this could be Brexit Bri­tain.

Set in a recog­nis­ably scuzzy south Lon­don, My Beau­ti­ful Laun­drette’s every­man hero is Bri­tish Pak­istani Omar (Gor­don War­necke) who, with the help of his bitta-ruff lover (Daniel Day-Lewis), trans­forms his un­cle’s run­down laun­drette into a neon palace wor­thy of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert.

That’s just one seg­ment of Stephen Frears’ patch­work film, though, which ric­o­chets be­tween high camp and oc­ca­sional dodgy act­ing as it tack­les

im­mi­gra­tion, poverty and in­tol­er­ance. “This damn coun­try has done us in,” gripes Omar’s papa (Roshan Seth) in just one of his pre­scient tirades.

The pol­i­tics are en­gag­ing, the street-level vi­sions of ’80s Lon­don fas­ci­nat­ing, but in an age when gay cin­ema is hap­pily thriv­ing, Laun­drette does creak. Still, Hanif Kureishi’s Os­car-nommed dialogue is a treat, and Day-Lewis is on top form in a cult clas­sic awash with in­sight. Josh Win­ning

Day-Lewis hopes the new laun­drette works out bet­ter than the hair­dressers did.

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