Amazon streaming has just added the 1985 British film My Beautiful Laundrette to its free-with-Amazon-Prime list of films. My Beautiful Laundrette scores a rare 100% critics approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a quirky drama-comedy, with a gay romance sub-plot, and the people who like it, really like it. The filmmaker didn’t know he was making a pro-free market film, but even leftist reviewers see it that way.
“The spirit of free enterprise underpins the Hanif Kureishi-scripted, Stephen Frears-directed comedy…My Beautiful Laundrette was a teasing provocation to the mindset of the 70s old left.”
“My Beautiful Laundrette proposes a liberal-libertarian ‘politics of irony’ that has a relationship of flat rejection towards traditional forms of left politics grounded in class. Indeed, it might be argued that the main zone of its political engagement lies in the conflict between residual, welfarist traditions of liberalism and a libertarian politics which, licensed by Thatcherism, is seeking an exit from this increasingly defunct social democracy.”
–Visions of England: Class and Culture in Contemporary Cinema
“What’s interesting about this film is that novelist/screenwriter Hanif Kureishi thought he was making a savage indictment of Thatcherite capitalism. But to me, the good characters in the movie — white and Pakistani, gay and straight — are the ones who work for a living, and the bad characters are clearly the whining socialist immigrant intellectual, who doesn’t like his son opening a small business, and the British thugs who try to intimidate the young Pakistani businessman. My favorite line: The enterprising brother of the layabout intellectual takes a young working-class Briton with him to evict some deadbeat tenants. The young Brit suggests that it’s surprising the Pakistani businessman would be evicting people of color. And the businessman says, ‘I’m a professional businessman, not a professional Pakistani. There is no question of race in the new enterprise culture.’ I think Kureishi thinks that’s a bad attitude. The joke’s on him.”
–David Boaz, Cato Institute