This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

FINALLY. I get to see this much-acclaimed movie.

CJ and I have wanted to see this for quite awhile. I was concerned (a little) as to why it was Rated R and wasn't sure about taking her. I mean, I WOULD, but I have to respect my husband's input and he is a bit more conservative than I am in this arena (and that's not a dis on him; really, I probably SHOULD be more conservative).

Anyway, I could not make the time to go to see it with her, nor with Tim. I even toyed with the idea of 'stealing' the movie on-line. I had seen tweets from others who had done the same thing. I knew it would be wrong. But just this once? So I could see the movie?

When I explained this to CJ: guess what? We can watch the movie for free on-line! She asked "How can you do that when it's still in the theater?" and I said that some people figured out how to get the movie onto the internet and let us watch it for free! She told me that it sounds like stealing and she didn't want to do that.

My child teaching me ethics. And I need it. So I put on my dusty halo and waited until yesterday to legally obtain the movie from new favorite rental place, Redbox.

I loved it. I loved it. I loved it. I know now why it was so highly regarded.

The story was amazing. And brutal: a look into the lives of orphaned children in India and how they live; a look at the cruelty that men do to make money; how injustice exists amongst the police force; and a look at how hard it is to be respected when you come from the 'wrong' side of town (perhaps, a glimpse of the caste system? Although not outwardly stated but seems to be the way of the world there).

Mi-Mi watched it too. She thinks Rated R means scary, so she was getting scared at some parts of the movie (the chase scenes, especially). But she grasped the way the movie was made, which IMO, is genius. CJ figured it out quickly too.

Because the contestant on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" is from the slums, officials on the game and the police cannot believe he could possibly know the answers. He is uneducated and must be cheating. So there is some torture scenes that pepper the movie; the officials are trying to get him (Jamal) to admit he is cheating. He won't and thus, the abuse begins. At some point, the main police dude stops the torture and talks to Jamal about how the heck he knows the answers to these questions...and so begins the genius-ness of how the movie plays out: the question is asked - within the context of the actual game show - and the answer comes in flashbacks to Jamal's childhood memories, and how he learned the answer.

For the most part, there is little humor in how he achieves the answers. The answers are learned through a hard, hard life. And this is where the brutality plays...a common theme in Jamal's world. And it is amazingly well told, no matter how hard it is to see.

And what makes it difficult is the realization that, while the film is fiction, how true this must be for most children in India and similar countries. When CJ and I watch The Amazing Race, there are times where contestants are sent to India. And every time they are there, there is always tears of sorrow at seeing the way these people live, especially the children.

CJ said she enjoyed it too. Mi-Mi didn't get to finish it as she volunteered to be tucked in...she was that tired. But no matter, she actually sat still throughout the movie (even after whining about how she didn't want to watch the movie), asked questions, and provided commentary enough for us to know that she was following the movie's story.

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