#REVIEW: “PATTI CAKE$”
The praise for Patti Cake$ coming out of Sundance earlier this year was deafening and it stamped itself as one we simply couldn’t ignore. Although we had dreams of it doing the festival rounds at TIFF this fall, our emotions went high, low and then high again once we learned that it actually will get a summer release via distributor, Fox Searchlight, meaning we get to see it sooner.
The Drama from Writer/Director Geremy Gasper, in the same vein as 8 Mile and Hustle & Flow, centers on an aspiring New Jersey female rapper named Patti (Danielle MacDonald) but like in those Films also is from under-privileged beginnings. She has big aspirations of joining rap’s elite, with the support of a motley crew including her Nana (Cathy Moriarty), pharmacist/singer Jher (Siddharth Dhanajay) and the talented yet brooding Basterd (Mamoudou Athie). Struggling to make ends meet with her disapproving mother who is a failed singer (Bridget Everett) and with naysayers abound, the odds certainly are stacked against Patti. We also get a glimpse too of her relationship with her ailing Nana, who in ways is that supportive mother to her.
Gasper manages to capture so well the economic depression of New Jersey, itself a character in ways too and its toxicity on Patti‘s ambitions. The Film despite having its heavier moments, never loses its light with a balance of humour and hope. We want much for our heroine to rise and if the Film could be faulted for one thing, it is that while exploring a few running subplots, there needed just a bit more detail to Patti‘s artistic development, as things progress a bit too conveniently at times. This in no way detracts from phenomenal performances by this little-known ensemble, highlighted by MacDonald‘s transformation from an Australian native completely believable as an ambitious rapper from New Jersey. Everett also is commanding in equal parts a wild child mother and sibling rival to her own daughter. Legendary MC Lyte also gets a bit of screen time, but is great as one of Patti‘s idols.
This is an outstanding and promising debut from Gasper whom also notably composed the music heard here. Patti Cake$ is the Film you didn’t realize you needed on your radar this summer.
Fox Searchlight release PATTI CAKE$ on Friday, August 25, 2017.