Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire: A Priceless Tale

Last week, my good friend Sara and I went to see “Slumdog Millionaire.” It’s not often that a movie lives up to any hype you hear about it, but this sleeper hit does exactly that and then some.

Based on Vikas Swarup's 2005 novel “Q&A,” “Slumdog Millionaire” is the story of Jamal (Dev Patel), an 18-year-old orphan who becomes the unlikely first winner of India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” show. When Jamal is arrested under suspicion of cheating, he explains the difficult events of his life on the streets -- a life that led to him knowing the answers.

Against All Odds: Jamal (Dev Patel) and Latika (Freida Pinto) struggle to be together in "Slumdog Millionaire"

Tragedy brings Jamal (Dev Patel) and fellow orphans Salim (Madhur Mittal) and Latika (Freida Pinto) together when they're children. After they are separated from Latika, Jamal never gives up on finding her, and so begins the enchanting love story at the heart of “Slumdog.”

Jamal’s tale unfolds against the gritty backdrop of Mumbai’s slum villages and director Danny Boyle provides an unflinching look at this other world, helped along by a very talented cast. The children who portray young Jamal, Salim, and Latika turn in devastatingly heartfelt performances equaling the work of their older counterparts.

Patel is riveting as a man who refuses to be cast as a cheater or relinquish his longtime love. His perfect chemistry with the luminous Pinto has you falling for both of them – especially when she asks him why he can’t let go of the bond between them.

“It is our destiny,” he says simply.

“Slumdog Millionaire” is up for 10 awards including Best Picture at this Sunday’s Oscars.

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