My beaUtiFUl laUndrette
film extras 1985 Out nOw Dual Format Extras Documentary, Short film, Interviews, Booklet
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.