Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie this year. It's an almost outrageously quirky comedy that shamelessly plays every crowd-pleasing card, but in ways we've never seen before. The offbeat characters are ridiculously loveable, the music infectious and the plot strong enough to have us on our feet cheering at the end.
In suburban New Jersey, Patti (Danielle Macdonald) is a chunky white girl who dreams of being a rapper like her idol O-Z (Sahr Ngaujah). She lives with her larger-than-life mother Barb (Bridgett Everett) and her cranky wheelchair-bound Nana (Cathy Moriarty), both of whom had musical ambitions of their own. Against all odds, she forms an act with her best pal Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay), and they're understandably struggling to get noticed. Then she meets Basterd (Mamoudou Athie), a death-metal anarchist who joins her, Jheri and Nana in perhaps the nuttiest band of all time, PBNJ. The surprise is that their demo tape is actually very good. The question is whether they can win an upcoming competition organised by O-Z himself.
Writer-director Geremy Jasper shoots the film like a documentary, staying close to the characters as the real world rumbles along obliviously in the background. This draws the audience in, making it very easy to identify with these talented, likeable people who produce exhilarating music. Australian newcomer Macdonald is simply amazing, a magnetic force to reckon with. She brings Patti's yearning to life, as well as her snarky sense of humour, rapping skills and more than a little bitterness. She also has superb chemistry with all of her costars, each of whom develops a fully formed character who defies easy description. But then each person in this story deserves an entire film of his or her own.
Continue reading: Patti Cake$ Review
In the award-winning, crowd-pleasing comedy Patti Cake$, Australian actress Danielle Macdonald gives a breakout performance as a New Jersey teen desperate to become a rap star.
Clearly, her casting as the title character was unexpected. "I kind of thought the director, Geremy Jasper, must be insane," she laughs. "I grew up in Sydney, and I started doing acting classes when I was in eighth grade. It was one hour of improv a week, and there was also musical theatre. I loved it, but I was not musical at all. I got stuck in the back of the chorus! But Geremy just had this blind faith."
Jasper got her to read the role at the Sundance Labs in 2014, and for two years she lived with the character, developing the role alongside costars Siddharth Dhananjay (as Patti's sidekick) and Bridget Everett (as her mother). "Sid, Bridget, Geremy and I, we all developed relationships at the Labs," Macdonald explains. "And by the end of that experience, we all wanted to do the film together. But I never really thought it would get funded with me in the lead. I had a strong feeling this film would get made, but we all thought we'd get replaced at some point for, like, names. But it didn't happen, miraculously."
Continue reading: Danielle Macdonald Spent Two Years Becoming Patti Cake$
Patricia 'Dumbo' Dombrowski (Danielle MacDonald) is a big girl with even bigger dreams who works for a catering company in Bergen County, New Jersey. But food is not her future. She is desperate to become a big time rap superstar. She's never really had any musical talent, but when it comes to the hip hop genre she absolutely slays. Dubbed Killa P aka Patti Cake$, she finds support in her best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay) who works at a local pharmacy, and is further encouraged by a scary-looking fellow rapper named Basterd (Mamoudou Athie). And while her mother Barb (Bridget Everett) is less than encouring with Patti's quest for fame and fortune, her Nana (Cathy Moriarty) has every faith in her granddaughter.
Continue: Patti Cake$ Trailer
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