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Slumdog Millionaire

September 8, 2015

SM 2Based on an Indian novel by Vikas Swarup, the movie centers on Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), an 18-year-old orphan who is on the verge of winning millions on a televised Indian game show.

Jamal Malik is from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India¹s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”

It reveals India, both old and new, a place of filth and waste as well as rebirth and resistance. We watch as the nation embraces the 21st century, rising from the ashes of poverty for some, but at the cultural price of a distinctly Western frivolity, hollowness and nihilism.

Themes: poverty, values, destiny and happy endings.

Police Inspector: Money and women. The reasons for make most mistakes in life. Looks like you’ve mixed up both.

SMWhen Jamal’s mother is murdered during an anti-Muslim raid, he and older brother Salim (Madhur Mittal) are forced to fend for themselves.

Jamal Malik: If it wasn’t for Rama and Allah, I’d still have a mother.

Javed: My enemy’s enemy is a friend.

“Come away with me.”

“And live on what?”

“Love.”

Boyle infuses all of his films with a haunting spirituality: “I’m an optimistic person by nature,” he said. “I’m a sucker for ‘up’ endings, for Hollywood endings. I need hope.”

He acknowledged that his films had a weighty spiritual side, though he dismissed calling them “Christian.” Still, he admitted that, “There is something out there bigger, wider than we can accommodate at the moment.”

Although Jamal is a Muslim, it is his faith in love itself—not God—that sees him through the rough times. Time and again, Jamal combines an inherent determination to succeed with a fierce devotion to the transforming, surmounting power of love. Even at the darkest of times, Jamal’s inspirational faith in love is both an ideal and a specific tether to Latika. Everything to which Jamal sets his heart and life is for that purpose alone.

Owen Gleiberman, writing for Entertainment Weekly, even sniffed that it “ennobles poverty.”

Hardly. Like the Gospels, “Slumdog Millionaire” ennobles the poor.

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