An unlikely rapper (Danielle Macdonald) finds her voice as a one-of-a-kind hip-hop legend in the making in the first feature film from acclaimed commercial and music-video director Geremy Jasper. Set in gritty strip-mall suburbia, Patti Cake$ chronicles an underdog's quest for fame and glory. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) at Sundance.
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BY Adam Fresco Flicks Writer
Geremy Jasper’s fictional story of plus-sized would-be New Jersey rapper Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, is a clichéd crowd-pleaser that’s so energetic, the “been-there, seen-that” cynic in me surrendered to its gritty simplicity.... More
Whilst it’ll never be accused of originality, it does boast a big heart, a superb young cast, a cracking musical soundtrack that left me wanting more, and a stand-out lead performance by Australia’s Danielle Macdonald as Patti. Maligned for her size, looked down on for her working-class roots, dismissed as an overweight loser by all but her outsider friends, Patti is a bold breath of fresh underdog air in a cinematic landscape that often seems full of perfect people, with flawless physiques and idealised lives.
I was engaged and entertained by the story of Patti and her kooky crew, as they form PB&J, their band of outsider misfits, which even finds room for Patti’s ailing grandma, making for one hilarious oddball rap group photoshoot. Far from a schmaltzy fairy tale, it’s a story encompassing family dysfunction, poverty, and negative body image — sentimental yet never soppy, inspirational rather than insipid, poignant without feeling phoney.
Think Rocky with rap, or 8 Mile with a smile and a poor, white, female rapper. Patti Cake$ delivers a big, bold, anti-body-shaming, never-judge-a-book-by-its-cover, morality tale about family, friendship, and young people born on the wrong side of the tracks daring to dream big.Hide
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BY fairbrother superstar
Danielle MacDonald wins our hearts, and kills mics, as Patricia... More Dombrowski: 23, under-employed, stuck living with a less-than-supportive Mom and a supportive but very sick Granny. She's Dumbo to the people she grew up with, Patti Cakes to her friends, and Killa P to anyone within earshot when she can work up the courage to spit some of her rhymes. Yep, Patti dreams, secretly, of making it as a rapper. But the decrepit New Jersey neighborhood she calls home has a way of keeping people from achieving any goals loftier than staying out of debt and having enough spare cash to get drunk or high after work. And the hip-hop scene she's so eager to crash can be particularly scornful of overweight white girls. But the dream looks like it could be withing reaching-distance when Patti and her partner in rap star-fantasy , Jheri, chance to meet Bastard the Antichrist (not his real name, it turns out), a garage music-producer they reckon might just have the skills to help them cut a promo record...
From the ingredients outlined above, you'll have a solid idea of where this is going and how it'll play out. Writer-director Geremy Jasper knows we've seen many iterations of this story before and so, wisely, he takes the formula as a given and emphasizes what's different here: namely, Patti herself. No matter how predictable the story-beats, Patti rings true at every juncture, exaggerated (perhaps) but as authentic as the grimly run-down locations against which her story unfolds. If the road between Patti and her goals is contrived, it's tempered by palpable anxiety and embarrassment born of an all-too-relatable self-doubt.
A sort of Fat Girl 8 Mile, only a lot more fun than Eminem's joint, Patti Cake$ wins you over despite yourself. It's a crowd-pleaser that deserves a crowd.Hide