Thursday, January 15, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Tonight, Aaron and I headed out to the far-off land of Monrovia (not because it was the only place showing, but because we had gift certificates) to catch Slumdog Millionaire

I knew pretty much what to expect. Poor kid wins lots of money on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the Indian version, but is suspected of cheating because nobody should know all of those answers. Especially not a punk kid who grew up in the slums.

I told Aaron I could think of a great many reasons to love this film. I will attempt to write about just a few of the reasons why I am thankful it was made and that I got to experience it.

For one thing, it was absolutely beautiful. The use of color and texture was brilliant.

There were moments when I truly wanted to cry or look away, but Danny Boyle did a great job of ending the viewer's suffering right before it was too much to bear.

I think what was most important, and impressive, about this film is that it actually tells a story. It shows this life, this adventure, in a way that is really inviting and not condemning. How many times a day do Americans have a disapproving finger wagged in our faces for being too money-hungry and not appreciating what we have and being so rich compared to these other impoverished people, yada yada yada. I'm frankly pretty tired of the collective guilt trip. I do what I can. This film brings you to walk alongside these characters and experience in a miniscule way what they experience. It does not have that air of judgement, of, "have pity and send money to orphans or you'll lose sleep tonight." It says this is the life of these characters, and not just these characters, but some of the people with whom you share the planet.

In spite of the lack of judgement and scornful disapproval from the artist who conceptualized these 120 minutes, I still walked away from it with a greater appreciation for what I have. I didn't have to work as a child. I got to be a child. And even as an adult, I don't have to work half as hard as the children do in this film. I have just been able to float along, and the reason why I have to work so hard now is because I made some poor decisions.

The credits helped, as well. 

I thought I would have something more articulate to say, but I'm distracted by internet connectivity issues and tiredness. All that to say, if you can, go see this film. I don't think you'll regret it one bit.