That was the question I asked when Slumdog Millionaire swept the board on Sunday at the Golden Globe Awards winning Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Motion Picture - Drama.
Is it really worth all the hype I asked myself. So I took myself off to the cinema to decide if it was:
- a.) totally over-hyped
- b.) a waste of time
- c.) OK, but nothing spectacular
- d.) well worth a million Golden Globes
The answer, surprisingly to me, was d.)
I think it's a hard film to categorise. Is it love story, drama or life story?
The story is about eighteen year old orphan boy from the Indian slums, Jamal Malik, who becomes a contestant on the Hindi version of Who wants to be a Millionaire? gameshow, and with one question left to go to win 20 million rupees is taken into custody by the police because he is suspected of cheating.
After being tortured and interrogated all night by the brutal police force, we learn that he knows all the answers not because of his education or from someone helping him in the audience, but due to his life experiences in the slums of Mumbai.
I'd have to say that the poster's assertion that this is the "the feel-good film of the decade" is slightly misleading as it's not a laugh a minute movie. It's actually hard to laugh at some of the horrors the kids endured and survived growing up on the impoverished streets of India.
This is a film which makes you realise that your life is wonderful compared to how some people are living in this world. We complain about how fast our internet connection is, or how bored we are, or how bad the weather is, whilst there are children having to beg and do god knows what else to survive on the streets. It's a very humbling cinematic experience.
However it's also a celebration of life and there is a lot of joy in the movie, plus some real laugh out loud moments (the lengths young Jamal will go to get an autograph from his Bollywood hero, Amitab Bachchan, especially) and the ending will definitely lift your spirits and put a tear in your eye.
Slumdog has great child actors, who at all three life stages during the movie are fantastic and seem total naturals in their roles. It is beautifully filmed with amazing cinematography and a brilliantly choreographed pace to the film.
A friend of mine pointed out the chase scene through the streets of Mumbai at the beginning of the movie were reminiscent of the start of Trainspotting and there are other nods to Danny Boyle's past endeavours throughout the rest of the film.
The childhood friendship that develops into a romance is sweet and totally believable between Jamal and Latika, another orphaned slum kid, and you have one of those real punch the air moments when they are ultimately united at the end of the movie.
I also love films who go the extra mile and do something special when the end credits role, like the main cast encore in full ABBA costume at the end of Mamma Mia - The Movie, which in Slumdog Millionaire's case is music and dancing straight out of a Bollywood movie - it'll help you leave the cinema with a spring in your step and a smile on your face as it's so full of fun and life.
I give this movie four **** stars, but why not go see the movie for yourself and in the meantime see if this trailer for the movie piques your interest.
I for one wish we could all 'live on love'...
p.s. I just had another celebrity encounter at Runyon Canyon, this time Zoolander and Tropic Thunder star Ben Stiller getting some exercise.