Slumdog Millionaire


“Hey, Mom.  Let’s go see this movie everyone is buzzing about, Slumdog Millionaire.”

“I don’t know.  I’m not sure if I’m really in the mood.”

“Oh, come on.  We’ll love it, I heard it’s really great, and upbeat.”

I finally convince her, she arrives breathlessly at the theater just in time for the beginning of the previews.    Partway through the movie, she leans over, and said, “I thought you said this was happy.”

“No, I meant uplifting.  It’s uplifting.”


Slumdog Millionaire is actually quite elegant in its simplicity.   Jamal is a boy who grew up in the garbage filled slums of Bombay / Mumbai.   When the story begins, Jamal has been arrested on suspicion of cheating on India’s version of the television game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”   His accusers don’t believe that this lowly slumdog could possibly know the answers and must be cheating.

We visit the important events in Jamal’s life and how he became the man that he is today.  While the plot is relatively simple, in that typical Boy-Meets-Girl type of formula, the movie is anything but.     It is a story not only about how our live experiences shape us, but also how we use them to reshape our lives and the lives of those around us.   Jamal’s story is a gritty, moving tale that grabs you and doesn’t let go.

The cinematography and art direction is superb.  After the movie, that was all my mother could talk about.  She pointed out the juxtaposition of the colors, the rich towers next to the severely impoverished areas and how jolting the combinations were – a beautiful countryside, with terrifying secrets.

Also, the soundtrack is one of the most energetic and fun I’ve heard in a long time.  I rarely purchase movie music, but this one is a winner.  Two of the songs are nominated for Best in the upcoming Oscars.  (Of course, I hate to see a movie competing against itself!)

Parts of this movie are not easy to watch, but it is definitely worth seeing.  I stand by the adjective uplifting.    For the life of me, however, I cannot fathom its R-rating.   Gritty. Yes.   Some mature subject matter, yes.  It certainly wasn’t what I would call graphic or gratuitous.


3 Responses to “Slumdog Millionaire”

  1. mumbaikar Says:

    The movie is nice. I hope it wins at the academy.

    On a lighter not, here’s Amul Butter’s take on Slumdog. As usual they have found a way to mix their butter with the current events.

  2. morgan Says:

    Jersey and I are currently working our way through some of the bigger Oscar movies, hoping to see as many as possible before the 22nd. So far, we’ve only seen Milk and The Reader, but Slumdog is high on our list. I’m always glad to hear when “normal” people like a movie (professional critics seems to like some strange movies sometimes). Thanks for the endorsement.

  3. mabnyc Says:

    The R rating is supposedly for “overall intensity”. Apparently, Danny Boyle was gunning for a PG-13 and the MPAA couldn’t tell him anything specifically to cut so, rather than compromise his movie, he left it and got the R.

    Trying to comprehend the MPAA’s rating system is an utterly fruitless endeavor. I don’t even think about the ratings any more. They only distract me from the film.

    Watch a documentary called “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” if you want to learn more about the MPAA’s process, such as it is. It’s sort of ridiculous.

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