January 26

Slumdog Millionaire

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | 4 Comments

This weekend I saw the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.” Initially it arose as an option as my girlfriend wanted to see a movie. As she is a kind and caring person, she was willing to forgo dragging me to “Bride Wars” so that I might find some enjoyment in the movie as well. (Although I offered to allow her to do that so I might play the same card at a future date, likely for the new Quentin Tarantino movie expected later this year). But the options seemed rather meager. My friend had suggested Gran Torino or Yes Man. Neither interested me much beyond a rental, and I certainly didn’t want her to think I played my card for one of those choices, undoubtedly indebting me to see the next “chick flick” that spurred her interest. So I researched (meaning I actually read the synopsis) of the movies available.
“Slumdog Millionaire” seemed to have a pretty original idea. A poor young man in India, who had basically raised himself (with his brother) on the streets, is on the game-show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Because he is uneducated and is being successful on the show, he is accused of cheating. In explaining how he knows the answers, he recounts aspects of his life.
For those who love, or even like children, or who just don’t want to see them hurt emotionally or physically, the images are a bit disturbing. I don’t want to give anything away, so suffice it to say the boys and their newfound same age female friend have a tough life. It isn’t just the difficulties (minimally stated) that they endure that is difficult to witness, but also the poverty that many live with in that country does not sit well with empathetic viewers. The fact that people live that way today is a true travesty.
Despite these disturbing images and themes, the movie is moving and powerful. It resonates on several themes: paths chosen, the beauty of unconditional love, redemption, and in my opinion the beginning of enlightenment. Without giving anything away, this young man is recounting his difficult and traumatic life, and explaining how these traumas have led him to be winning on a game show. I read a passage recently about enlightenment from the book “Change your Thoughts Change Your Life, Living the Wisdom of the Tao” by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer which suggests that the first stage of enlightenment is seeing in hindsight how what were perceived as negative events in your life were “actually gifts disguised as problems.” (pg304). Now I am certainly not saying winning money is the only way this happens, in life or in the movie, but I believe the movie makes the point beautifully.
I don’t want to go into it anymore than I have for fear of telling too much. But I just want to say that it is movies like this that move people in a positive direction.

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009 at 10:34 PM and is filed under Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Slumdog Millionaire”

  1. Auston on January 27th, 2009 at 5:22 PM

    I definitely loved the movie. I don’t think I can actually add anything of value besides – it is worth the money.

  2. William Berry on January 27th, 2009 at 10:34 PM

    Thank you for the comment Auston. Of course I agree. I actually couldn’t believe it when reading some of the reviews on MSN Movie User and some people believed it to be a movie about the gameshow.
    Thanks again for posting.

  3. Jasset on January 31st, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    I actually have not seen this movie; however, after such an astounding review, I will definitely make a point to watch it very soon. You should be a movie critic.

  4. William Berry on January 31st, 2009 at 5:51 PM

    Thanks for the compliment. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, although in the past when I recommended “Billy Madison” to a friend I never heard the end of it. So the film critic line of work maybe a little out of reach unless I shun my love for stupid comedy.
    Also, I’ve found when you have high expectations you are more likely to be disappointed, but when you expect little, you may be very pleasantly surprised. With all that said, I still think you’ll like it, as I haven’t heard a negative thing from anyone I know who have seen it.
    Thanks again.

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