• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

My Beautiful Laundrette

Extracts from this document...


How and to what extent can My Beautiful Laundrette be seen as a critique of Thatcherism? My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) was released during Margaret Thatcher's fifth year in power as the British Prime Minister. The "Iron Lady", as she became known, labelled England as "sick, morally, socially and economically". Andrew Gamble suggests that Thatcherism is a word that is sometimes aimed at three different things. Firstly in relation to Margaret Thatcher's political style, to the ideological doctrines of the New Right and finally to the policies of the Thatcher government. The film represents these times with unemployment at a high. The characters in My Beautiful Laundrette represent unemployment and the minorities throughout Britain in the 1980's; Omar (Gordon Warnecke) the lead character is from an Asian background along with his family. Daniel Day Lewis' character Johnny is a white male who is unemployed and homeless. After a few subtle hints, the film also reveals that Omar and Johnny are homosexual. The relationship between the two is actually the only part of the film that does not try to score political points, although their relationship does suffer cruel tests with the ethnic divide testing them when Salim sadistically runs over Moose and the brutal assault on Salim from the hands of Moose and Genghis. ...read more.


Between the employed and un-employed, between the rich and the poor, between the people who have got and who have not." Stephen Frears views in the above quote are summed up in My Beautiful Laundrette. The film references most of this in the characters, rich and the poor. Nasser, Omar's uncle, is rich while Johnny is the poor. This is highlighted when Salim, the more villainous character in the film, patronises Johnny and, for example, shuts the door in his face in the laundrette when speaking to Omar. Thatcher praised the Indian and Asian shopkeepers in the 1980's calling them the new meritocrats. The film constructs itself on a family of Asians who thrive in this downtrodden South London. Using their wealth to buy up shops and properties and easily make profit (helped on by Thatcher's tax cuts for businesses) although this subtly offers a dig at Thatcher as Nassar and mainly Salim use most of these 'profit-less' businesses as a front of their crime dealings with drugs. As demonstrated in the film, the native British and Pakistani communities switch roles in the 1980s. As Omar angrily shouts to Johnny during the film "I'm not going to be beaten down by this country. When we were at school, you and your lot kicked me all round the place. ...read more.


In Kureishi's autobiography, he states that My Beautiful Laundrette was based on his experiences through his childhood (before Thatcher's rule) how he socialised with a group of friends throwing bricks at shop windows but withdrew when he learned of their true nature, when the lads congregated to hunt down Pakistanis and beat them. This is represented in Omar's childhood when he mentions to Johnny about their childhood at school, although this is pre-Thatcher rule. When the iron-lady took charge of the country she homed in on her skills to racist and navistic segments of the country to her political advantage. Overall, My Beautiful Laundrette was written to display Kureishi's understandings of the political scene in 1980's London. Referring often in the film to "dirty money" earned from drug dealings and other black-market activitiesm Kureishi critiques Thatcherism by illustrating the corruption highlighted in private industry. The same sector Thatcher had praised as the solution to Britain's diminishing international reputation and high unemployment throughout the country. The Tory leadership was particularly disastrous for the British film industry as a whole. "The quota ensuring that all cinemas showed a percentage of British films was abandoned in 1982; the films act of 1985 abolished the Eady Levy and pulled the plug on the National Film Finance Corporation, British films continued to be made but the infrastructure that ensured they reached an audience was kicked away." (Murphy R, pg262. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Writing to Inform, Explain and Describe section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Writing to Inform, Explain and Describe essays

  1. A Native Polar.

    As he reached the bottom of the mountain he jumped into the river made by the melting ice, and very shallow desperately searching for his brother. Toku was pushing the water away from him so he could try and move faster but he was getting tied, then all of a

  2. show how childhood is represented in charlotte brontes, jayne eyre

    Jane's turmoil is shared as the reader feels that they also have the demoralizing emotions. In chapter seven Jane attends Lowood, a boarding school for girls. After Jane's hypothetical poor behaviour at Gateshead Hall, her aunt has sent her to a Boarding school, where the head, Mr Brocklehurst, is exceptionally religious with puritan ideals.

  1. saving private ryan

    This desire to recreate the war experience for the actors presents itself as highly specific to the 1990s, a period in which the current generation of Hollywood actors would certainly never have faced battle conditions in real life. The film's position in 1998 is also reflected by the motivations behind creating the film at this particular time.

  2. The Shawshank Redemption Critique

    Also, throughout the film red is the narrator and this allows him to speak for all the prisoners. In the end this helps sets the atmosphere as his voice is very mellow. They also show a beach which implies the feeling of freedom which is what Andy and Red did not have whilst being in Shawshank prison.

  1. According to Soren Kierkergaard, a prominent existentialist, in Stephen J. Dubner's novel, Turbulent Souls, ...

    In 1942, "the war at last came to America, Solly immediately enlisted in the Army. Finally he could escape his father's house"(33). It seems as if he is looking forward to the war coming to America, but since war is unpleasant, violent, and awful.

  2. a beautiful day

    Made you jump, did I? Sorry", said the little old lady flatly, sounding anything but. She gave him what was probably meant to be a smile, which consisted in its entirety of one yellow tooth and a lot of gums. Thankfully, it only lasted a shadow of a second.

  1. Palms, beautiful beaches, parties, dancers, cabarets... Was that what Cuba was?

    screamed a member of the cabin crew, standing at the other side of the plane. Still half asleep, I packed my stuff away and put on my jumper. I was ready to get off the plane. As soon as I stepped out the aircraft, I recognised the smell of palms

  2. Witch hunt

    Casey's voice sent a shiver down Becky's spine, as she opened her mouth to respond, she realised she was now listening to a dial tone. Not bothering to wash, she headed down stairs to the kitchen; the excitement of the previous day's events had led her to forget to eat.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work