January 30, 2009

The Little Movie That Could


It's the little movie that could much like Little Miss Sunshine the other year. Now, however, Slumdog Millionaire is the front runner for this year's Academy Awards. It's been winning most if not all the award shows out there.

I saw it Monday and loved it! The plot is very clever winding it's way around the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. The hero, Jamal, a poor young man from the slums of Mumbai becomes a contestant on the show. He is then accused of cheating because he knew all. What's clever about it is that the audience finds out how he knows the various answers through flashbacks into his life in the slums. What a great way to have a story unfold kudos to Danny Boyle and co-director Loveleen Tandan from the book of Vikas Swarup and script by Simon Beaufoy. I love plots that have a backdoor to the story it's much more engaging that way. Another thing that I loved in the movie was that the director and script writer weren't scared of showing the gritty streets and slums of Mumbai. It makes the movie more realistic and "in the moment" I think.

A co-worker in fact commented to me that it was fascinating to see the slum scenes because it's such a different life. She even asked me if people do live like that. To which I told her that's not just in India but in developing countries like the Philippines too. Now isn't it a great when a movie gets an audience to see another way of life? It does provoke people to think and puts some perspective into their life.

While the movie showed Jamal's difficult upbringing, it is however uplifting in the end. Maybe that's what we need now......the triumph of perseverance in the face of adversity.

Edit (1/30 10:45 am): I forgot to mention that one of the outstanding features of this movie is the score by A.R. Rahman. It is a perfect complement to the movie. Movie scenes are made more exciting by the Bollywood-ish music. It's great!

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