Ok. No critical build-up to my final opinion here. Slumdog ROCKED. It was awesome. Fantastic. Whatever you want to call it. I loved it.
Seriously, if you haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire yet, you need to. And not just because it won 8 Oscars. I would recommend it hands down even if it hadn't won a single Academy Award. I've already seen it twice, I'd easily see it again, and the soundtrack has been playing non-stop in my car for 2 days.
So why did I like it so much? Why all this hype?
Because Slumdog Millionaire captured poverty in India like nothing I've ever seen. The images of people and places in the movie were so spot on that it took my breath away. I felt like someone was reaching into my memory and pulling out the exact things I had seen and experienced.
In fact, it genuinely was a little creepy, because of the sheer volume of sights and sounds in the movie that matched my trip exactly.
At one point in the movie, there is a little girl wearing a filthy yellow dress picking through a massive pile of garbage. Children like her (called "rag-pickers" in India) were a common sight in New Delhi. Once, as we were driving around a corner in my neighborhood, I saw a little girl, clothes filthy, picking through a heap of trash. I think her dress might even have been yellow. The exact same image.
Later in the movie, two young boys make money by walking through a train, selling things to the passengers. I travelled in the exact same type of train, and yes... little boys tried to sell me stuff.
One image in the movie is of a little beggar girl tapping on the window of a car and asking for food by making motions with her hands. The image was spot on, even down to her hand motions and the little bobble of her head.
Then there was the stuff that was so accurate it was creepy. At one point they show a little blind boy begging at the bottom of the stairs in a subway (underground passage). I used to regularly go through a subway to avoid crossing the crazy street above, and just about every time I would see a little blind boy begging.
And to top it all off, there is a song playing in the background of one scene which of course happened to be from one of three Bollywood movies I saw while in India. What are the chances?
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Slumdog Millionaire captures poverty in India well.
But from just reading this you would think that it's a really depressing movie. That it's all beggars and garbage and poverty. And there is a fair share of really difficult images. But in the end, the movie leaves you with a feeling of hope... of redemption. On top of all that, the movie revolves around a simple and beautiful love story.