Indian “Fairy Tale”
Release Date: November 12, 2008
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 120 minutes
Director: Danny Boyle
Executive Producer: Paul Smith and Tessa Ross
Producer: Christian Colson
Writer: Simon Deaufoy
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As they grow older, Jamal falls in love with Latika, but she is stolen away by a crime lord. Salim becomes the strongarm thug for this crime lord while Jamal holds a menial job at the local call center. The lives of these three youth further entwine as the story builds to the end and Jamal is allowed back on the show to attempt to win the grand prize.
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is an enjoyable movie with a mix of action, adventure and romance. The story is uniquely told in flashback as Jamal must reveal how he knew the show’s answers. For instance, he knew who was on a U.S. hundred-dollar bill from when he was stealing from tourists and posing as a phony tour guide. The story of he, his brother and Latika is so engaging that even the police chief questioning him wants to know what happens next in the story.
The acting is superb as Jamal is seen as a young boy, a teenager and as a young man. There is much empathy with him, though especially as a young man his actions speak more than his expressions or words. The directing is terrific, telling the story in a unique way but without drawing attention to itself. The music is fun and lively, and there is the necessary “Bollywood-style” dance number over the end credits.
The movie warrants caution in a few areas. The first is the worldview is that of a group of Muslim kids and Jamal’s success is attributed at one point to the fact that “it is written.” This is a common Muslim expression to mean that it’s God’s will for one’s life. We know that God does direct our lives and has a will for each of us, but the context of this cultural fatalism is an Islamic one. The movie also shows strife between the Muslims and the Hindus.
As young boys and teenagers, Salim and Jamal often steal to eat and are involved in conning tourists. Salim is shown praying to Allah, asking him to forgive him for his sins, as he heads out to work for the thug. As a young man, however, Jamal becomes a better person who, unlike his brother, stays away from violence. Even the police chief agrees that Jamal is a truthful man.
Finally, there is violence in the world that Salim inhabits, and the story includes some minor foul language.
With discernment, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is an enjoyable movie for older audiences. It is filled with encouragement of the underdog winning.
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is an enjoyable movie with action, adventure and romance. The story is uniquely told in flashback as Jamal must reveal how he knew the show’s answers. Jamal chooses to do the right thing in the story, but the movie contains some violence, foul language and references to his Muslim background.