Monday, April 13, 2009

Two Thumbs Up!

Today's Wonder of the World is...Slumdog Millionaire!

If you've been kind enough to hang out with me very long in my bloggy wonder-land, you know I've never ever picked a movie for a Wonder of the World. I prefer to try to find the extraordinary in more general, everyday things-- like clouds or kudzu or Lego blocks. But I've got to make an exception for Slumdog Millionaire.
People, if you haven't already, go see this movie!

I was released months ago. I'm late to the party and you've already seen it three times.
Please forgive me and let me gush anyway. And if you haven't seen it (or even if you have,) you might enjoy the trailer.

So here's the basic premise: Jamal Malik, a teen from the slums of Mumbai, becomes a winning contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and is arrested for cheating. As the police interrogate him concerning how he could possibly know the answers to the questions on the show, his life story unfolds.

The film was based on the book Q and A, written by Vikas Swarup, an Indian novelist and diplomat.

Now that I've fallen in love with the movie, I want to give the book a try.

So why am I so in love?
The movie reminded me of something William Faulkner said in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1949, about the role of a writer. If writing is a passion of yours, I highly recommend reading the whole thing here--it's so inspiring. But if you've only got time for a nugget of wisdom, think on this:

"The poet's, the writer's, duty is ... to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

No, I don't spend my free time reading speeches by Nobel laureates. I'm pretty sure I first heard about it over at Anne and May's blog. Thanks ladies!

Slumdog Millionaire is a story about all those universal truths- love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.
It deserved every one of those eight Academy Awards.

I also loved the movie because I fell in love with the kids.

Apparently the filmmakers debated about using slum kids in the movie at all.
Here's a quote from Erika Kinetz's Feb. 22, 2009 article in The Boston Globe on this subject:
"Part of your brain thinks, would it distort their lives too much?" said Danny Boyle, the British director, by phone from London. "Then someone said, 'These people have so much prejudice against them in their lives. Why should we be prejudiced against them as well?' "

It fun seeing them at the Oscars...

although it did make me worry about them. I still do. Don't you?
According to that Boston Globe article, the filmmakers worried about them too.

"Boyle and producer Christian Colson figured education was the best way to help Rubina and Azhar. They got them places in Aseema, a nonprofit, English-language school for underprivileged kids in Mumbai."

So being the internet snoop that I am, I found a link to the school, here. Go ahead and hop over to the site. There are ways to contribute to the school if you like.

One other link before I go... It's my favorite one and it's here, a flickr picture of some of the neighbors of one of the child stars watching the Oscars. It could be a scene right out of the movie!

Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all!
Meet the kids on the red carpet before you go!

Love, Becky


TattingChic said...

...lovely, Becky, really!

judy in ky said...

Such a lovely post. The movie opened my eyes. It was full of the best and the worst of humanity. I too think about those kids now. Not just the stars, but the ones watching in India too.

lotusgirl said...

I've really wanted to see this film, but hadn't because of the R rating. I wonder why they had to make something that could be so great for kids to see rated R. The story is so compelling. Maybe I'll just read the book.

Sherry said...

It was a very interesting and intriguing movie. Did you read the news about something that happened to one of the young stars when he returned home? His father kicked him and perhaps beat him when he was tired from the flight back home and didn't want to talk to the media. This really crushed me.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

This is definitely on my TO RENT SOON list:)

Suzie said...

I havent seen it but I really want to.

Kelly H-Y said...

I wanted to see it before ... but now I must, must, must see it! I mean ... if it's one of your Wonders of the World and all ... I just can't miss it!!!

Susan said...

I haven't seen it yet. This certainly is a lovely tribute.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Wow...I'm not the only one who hadn't seen it yet!

Lotusgirl, Todd and I talked a lot about the rating, and we were a little confused about why it got an R compared to many of the PG-13 movies we'd seen. I think it was the intensity of it. Not really for language, (that I can remember) or for sexual situations...I don't let Ben and Sam see R movies, but I might make an exception for Ben (16 years old) with this one. Not Sam, however, NO WAY!
Have you ever seen the movie reviews for Go over there and see what you think. It's the best movie review site for parents, in my opinion.

Sherry, I had heard about that and it kills me. So, so sad.

I'm glad so many of y'all plan to see it. It really is one of the best I've ever seen.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Okay, so I just went over to and there was more profanity than I remembered. (That site is GREAT because it lists everything that might offend ANYONE--so you're never surprised. Really, it's almost funny...look up some of Pixar animated movies and see how they describe the violence. I'd love to hear them recap the Three Stooges.)

But back to Slumdog, I don't even remember the profanity--except for one instance.
It is heavy on the violence, which always bothers me when children are on the screen, but it's not particularly gory or gruesome. They don't show everything. As far as closeups of gore, you'd see worse from TV crime shows.

May Vanderbilt said...

Loved this movie! Even my parents loved it--and they don't like "sad" movies. But it's ultimately a happy ending and it opens your eyes to the suffering around the world.

Great post!

Rosemary said...

Hi Rebecca,
Hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter.
I did see this movie, I liked it and didn't like it. Good and the bad mixed together.
Great post!

serenity said...

This movie is one of the things I love about Hollywood. I couldn't believe how happy it was really in light of the terrible realities. That bitter sweet combination is so true to life. I was nervous throughout, wondering how far they would take the difficult subject matter. But they usually took the path of allusion rather than terrible detail.

And such great links!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey Serenity, I've read some real criticism about this very thing. I believe it was Salman Rushdie who said that the movie piles impossibility on impossibility. Having lived in Mumbai, he was more concerned with the realities of what could actually happen in that place. (How did they get a gun in India? How could a slum child speak perfect English?)

But I think you've said it so well! I'm so glad the director/screenwriter/whoever chose to focus on those universal truths, that goodness and happiness can happen even in the most horrible of situations.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

I have not watched this movie if you can believe it but I plan to.
Oh gosh, I feel for these children also. I am so happy they are going to get help.
BTW, I also LOVE Faulkner's speech. Beautiful. Perfection. Gives me goose bumps every time.

The Things We Carried said...

I LOVED the movie. it had me laughing, in tears, and saying "oh no" until my family could stand me no more!

Now to read the link you gave to the Nobel prize winner.

Ronnie said...

I know what Joe and I will be doing Sunday night. Off to Blockbuster!
Geez, the world can be complicated.
To think that what we see as help can complicate a child's life.
All the while...reading your post, the video, the Globe article...I was thinking how grateful I am for what we have and how we take it for granted and how lucky our children are.
I've printed the Faulkner for bedtime reading.
Thanks again, Becky, for expanding my mind.
Love and hugs,

Stacy Nyikos said...

Totally LOVED this movie too, although I didn't see it until after the oscars. I didn't even know it existed. Awesome blog about it.

If you get a moment, pop by my blog. I nominated you for a Lemonade Stand Award!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I am later to the party than you! I've not yet seen it. Too be honest, I'm a little leery of the torture scenes. I had heard that they are pretty brutal and it scared me. Tell me, was it as bad as I heard?

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Pamela, they shocked me because they were at the very beginning of the movie. They were rough, but not as bad as they could have been.
Don't miss the movie on account of them. There's a lot of pain in the movie, but the joy and goodness makes up for it. At least in my opinion.

LW said...

Great Movie!

I loved it....


CC said...

Can you please send me a copy of the movie please? I haven't see it yet. :(