My Beautiful Laundrette, set amongst the socio-political landscape of the mid-1980s, explores the complicated relationship between the English and Pakistani communities living in London during the Thatcher years. As relevant now as it was when first released, the film follows the life of young adult Omar (Gordon Warnecke) and the unlikely romantic relationship he forms with right-wing street punk Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis). Both performances are incredible, and with the emphasis on character relations rather than that of the narrative, the film draws the audiences into the struggles of what it means and feels to be an ‘outsider’.
To this day, 35 years on, My Beautiful Laundrette can still be seen to be at the forefront of homosexual representation in the British film industry. Exploring not only issues of cultural conflicts and gender inequality, the film also succeeds in delving deep into the struggles of the working class during Thatcherite Britain. The film seamlessly blends the necessary discussion of both racism and homophobia with the culture clash of British life.
My Beautiful Laundrette stands strong amongst all British films of the 80s as one which highlights the struggles millions face in their day-to-day lives, daring to discuss that which many wished to brush under the carpet.
You can watch the trailer for My Beautiful Laundrette below: