Patti Cake$: One of 2017’s best
Dreams, whether they are professional or personal, often require heavy investments in the form of both time and effort/work. And even then those lofty goals may not come to fruition. However, add layer upon layer of adversity and those ambitious intentions instantly become that much harder to achieve. One new film looks at goals and the pain, struggle most have to endure to have the opportunity to see those dreams realized.
Patti Cake$ is the story of wannabe rapper Patti and her ensuing struggle. Patti aspires to a life of a recording artist, extemporaneously uttering rhymes and all the fame and fortune that would inevitably follow, often quite literally daydreaming of living this dream. However, Patti has some major obstacles in her way right from the get go. First of all, she doesn’t exactly look the part of a rapper. She’s a white overweight female, all three of which several characters remind her of on more than one occasion. Additionally, Patti’s living environment isn’t exactly the place where dreams flourish. One of Patti’s biggest naysayers is her own mother, who seemingly takes her own career failures and frustrations out on her daughter.
Despite everything in her way, Patti remains undeterred. Thanks in large part to her best friend and fellow aspiring rapper Jheri, they both soldier on and take concrete steps on the road of achieving their dreams. In the end, Patti and Jheri learn more about themselves, one another and that it’s not necessarily the destination, but instead the journey along the way that matters.
As far as story is concerned, much like the film’s characters, it starts off a bit lost, meandering and directionless. Thankfully after the first 20 minutes or so, the story begins moving, examining these characters that aspire to lives of fame of fortune while living in seemingly hopeless situations. While the story does go in some unexpected directions, adding another layer of authenticity to these already relatable characters, the story more times than not feels unoriginal and too much been-there-done-that.
While the story is somewhat run-of-the-mill, it’s the performances that help to elevate and separate it from other such films. Danielle Macdonald as Patti is a treat to watch and her performance is easily worth the price of admission. While Macdonald shines brightest, there isn’t a weak performance in the entire film.
Patti Cake$ is a film that succeeds on nearly every level because of its authentic, relatable characters, strong direction and Macdonald’s star-turning performance. Easily one of the year’s best. 4.5 out of 5.