Slumdog Millionaire is the story of Jamal, a young man who has made it to the final round of India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? only to be arrested on the grounds that he has cheated. When the police demand to know how an eighteen-year-old from the slums could know so much, he tells a series of stories from his life, each holding the answer to one of the questions he got right.
To put it briefly, this is one of the most amazing movies I have ever seen. Everything about it is right. First of all, the acting is sensational. The three main characters are each portrayed by three different actors, at various stages in the characters’ lives. Each actor is completely believable, and there manages to be a feel of continuity between the younger actors and their older counterparts. The acting is very understated, which makes all the characters seem more human.
The other thing that stands out is the story. Much of it is told in flashbacks, but this is done very smoothly. Sometimes flashbacks serve only to remind the viewer that they’re watching a movie, but in Slumdog this is never the case. There’s a very good flow throughout the entire movie. The plot is also very intriguing, and never drags. However, the main thing which is excellent in this film is the fact that it could have been very maudlin, but it never slips into this. It is alternately heart-wrenching, inspiring, devastating, and the ultimate feel-good movie, but it never moves into the realm of sappiness. It has a fine line to walk and it does so marvelously. As a result, Slumdog Millionaire is definitely a must-see film.
It must be noted, however, that Slumdog Millionaire is not a movie for children. There are some disturbing images, violence, and language. It’s a rather mild R as there is no explicit violence or sex, but both – especially violence – are decidedly implied. Overall, it’s not an immoral film; it just has some decidedly mature themes. In fact, there are many very good morals conveyed in this film, especially by the hero, Jamal. Good is definitely praised, and evil does not go unpunished. Consequently, Slumdog Millionaire is an excellent film for adults and mature teens.
Adrienne Frank was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she was homeschooled and developed an interest in film. She has since written several scripts, produced two short films – one of which was a runner-up in a local film festival – and also has a short script currently in production. Now a resident of Ann Arbor, Adrienne is finishing her second feature-length script.