My Beautiful Launderette (1985)
We need more movies like this. Seriously, go watch it; it will not have been a waste of your time.
Here are some things I plucked from Ebert’s 1986 review:
“My Beautiful Launderette” refuses to commit its plot to any particular agenda, and I found that interesting. It’s not about whether Johnny and Omar will remain lovers or about whether the laundry will be a success. And it’s not about the drunken father or about Nasser’s [bored and desperate] daughter.
The character of Johnny may cause you to blink if you’ve just seen the wonderful “A Room with a View.” He is played by Daniel Day-Lewis, the same actor who, in “Room,” plays the heroine’s affected fiancee, Cecil. Seeing these two performances side by side is an affirmation of the miracle of acting: That one man could play these two opposites is astonishing.
The viewer is likely to go through a curious process while watching this film. At first there is unfamiliarity: Who are these people, and where do they come from, and what sort of society do they occupy in England? We get oriented fairly quickly and understand the values that are at work. Then we begin to wonder what the movie is about. It is with some relief that we realize it isn’t “about” anything; it’s simply some weeks spent with some characters in a way that tells us more about some aspects of modern Britain than we’ve seen before.