Movies about musicians often are entertaining and even more so if the music created is great. Last years Sing Street garnered a lot of love primarily because of the music and musical elements in the film integrated with a common coming of age love story. Patti Cake$ pulls elements of 8-Mile and Sing Street in creating it’s own thing centered around the hip hop genre.
Patti Cake$ was movie number 3 of day 1 at the Florida Film Festival
Patricia Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald) prefers her alias Killa P as she tries to overcome the obstacles of her life in New Jersey through a rap career. She lives with her mother Barb (Bridget Everett), who had crushed dreams of a music career, and Nana (Cathy Moriarty), who is slowly dying but is full of attitude. Patti navigates a few part-time jobs, haters, and her own doubts with singular focus of a dream that she believes is her only ticket out of the hell that is her life.
The 8-Mile connection is going to be made initially because of the white rapper stigma. For a long time, before Eminem made it, Vanilla Ice was one of the only white rappers in existence. Since then, there have been several to find success, but none to the level of Eminem. Patti’s skin color does play a factor in the story, using the phrase “culture vulture,” at one point, and even her homelife harkens back to B-Rabbit’s in 8-Mile. Luckily, writer and director Geremy Jasper doesn’t allow his film to fall into the exact same beats as 8-Mile. There was a moment, where Patti is pushed into a battle with a popular rap group and it appears as though she’s going to pull a B-Rabbit and choke. Fortunately, Patti steps up and shatters that trope, but at the same time Jasper manages to find a loss within the win to keep the drama real.
Danielle Macdonald has a promising career in front of her
Danielle Macdonald, an Australian actress who gives no hint of this, gives a fantastic, memorable performance. She absolutely carries this film and, other than her language and a few questionable choices, is a powerful female lead in a rap world dominated by men. This film juggle family struggles, music struggles, life struggles, and personal struggles expertly. The connection that Patti and her mother have works so organically and adds a compelling story thread to the main one.
Her friends and music partners are filled in with Siddharth Dhananjay and Mamoudou Athie. The trio manage to bring some really big laughs especially during a photoshoot that includes Nana. The film does handle its tone very well as there is often an air of comedy, but also makes the weight of the situation tangible. In fact, the film opens with some innovative sequences to really get across how important rap music is to Patti. Seeing her walk down the street with headphones on when she is literally lifted into the sky was pretty awesome.
Patti Cake$ is a film that should be seen by any music lovers or musicians. If you’re a fan 8-Mile, Sing Street, Once, or any other film that falls into this journey or a fan of the fish out of water story than add this to your watchlist. Do know that there is going to be a quite a bit of cursing as it goes with the territory of the genre of music, but it’s otherwise fairly tame. Patti Cake$ gets the Must See rating.