“Slumdog” mixes a classic Dickensian story with the kinetic beauty and brutality of modern-day India. Along the way Jamal is the proverbial Oliver in this twisty tale. Does it make you feel good? Yes. Does it contain scenes of murder, torture, child prostitution and abject poverty. Yes. Do those seem impossible to pull off together? Heck, yes. Yet pull it off it does. And feel good you most definitely will. British director Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting,” “28 Days Later,” “Millions”) and his Indian casting director Loveleen Tandan (whose contribution was so essential she was given co-director credit on the film) have weaved together a piece of pure movie magic – a star-crossed romance with a social conscience that doesn't shy away from the rough stuff but still makes you want to stand up and cheer.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that Jamal's true love is played later in life by the luminous newcomer Freida Pinto. Let me tell you, just Googling her does not do her justice. Lovely reader meenoo sent me a link to her before I'd seen the movie and I thought she was pretty. But, woo doggie, then I saw her on the big screen and now I think she is otherworldly. Her cheekbones are the stuff that close-up cameras dream of. In short, if I could summarize, to wrap things up: go see this movie. Consider it my belated Christmas gift to you – you can thank me later.