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My Forgotten Laundrette

My Beautiful LaundretteLast night I watched My Beautiful Laundrette for the first time in about fifteen years. What struck me most was how much I had completely forgotten about the movie, or at least how much I never processed the first time around. It's a swirling mix of class war, race relations, sex roles, social upheaval, and on and on, but I didn't remember a bit of it. I had even forgotten that it had a happy(ish) ending.

No, the only detail that seared itself into my retinas and my memory so long ago was the first time that Daniel Day-Lewis and Gordon Warnecke kiss. It seemed so sweet, hot, and unsensationalized when I first saw it happen, in a way that I hadn't seen in the few movies I’d already seen where the subject of man-on-man had appeared. I guess I was still a few years away from making sense of why I was so affected by that image, which is why it blasted the rest of the movie into oblivion for me. What impresses me even more now was how easily it worked into the fabric of the whole story, a piece rather than the whole point just like life. that’s exactly what I keep longing for whenever some new indie gay flick comes out, and what is so rarely delivered.

Comments (6)

1) RRichard Evans Lee: After seeing Boys in the Band it�d be twenty-something years before I�d watch another gay movie (although I guess Death in Venice would count as a gay movie). I�ve only been able to see what is available for rent in Durham, North Carolina, I can�t guess at what�ve yet to be able to view. It was surprising, although it shouldn�t have been, to see the standard romantic comedy formulated replicated with two guys. Most of them have seemed too slick and easy. The independent gay movies however noble in intent often seem to share the same sensibilities and merge together in memory. But My Beautiful Laundrette was one of the few that was funny, charming and satisfying. With Parting Glances one of the few I�m sure I�ll watch again. (Jun 10, 2003 2:34 PM)

2) Ron: Laundrette is one of my all-time favorites. It had quite a significant impact on me as a young queer coming to terms with my sexuality. And the way the film deals with race/class (especially in terms of the sexuality) was unparalleled at the time and remains exemplary. I think this is one of those movies that is unfortunately overlooked when critics organizations or film institutes do those "Top 100" lists. I'm curious if the recently-released DVD version has any special features of note. Was this a netflix movie? Did you happen to notice any interesting features? (Jun 11, 2003 9:03 AM)

3) Sparky: I caught it on cable, so I don't know if they packed anything else onto the DVD. Anyone? Bueller? (Jun 11, 2003 9:08 AM)

4) sean: Still - one of the only "gay" movies where love is neither fetishized, pornasized nor turned into some kind of glamourous trauma drama. An utterly astonishing movie. (Jun 16, 2003 9:28 AM)

5) Darren: It had the same effect on me in my northern England smalltown. I was 16 at the time and it helped me realise there were OTHERS. Still thrills me now. (Jul 2, 2003 5:02 PM)

6) haffy22: hi everyone, im doing my dissertation on Brokeback Mountain and would be interested to see your views on comparisons between My Beautiful Laundrette and the recent Ang Lee masterpiece... or not if you think that. please email me with any comments thanks sarah (Mar 8, 2006 11:32 AM)

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