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My Son the Fanatic (1999)

Om Puri , Rachel Griffiths , Udayan Prasad  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Om Puri, Rachel Griffiths, Akbar Kurtha, Stellan Skarsgård, Gopi Desai
  • Directors: Udayan Prasad
  • Writers: Hanif Kureishi
  • Producers: Anita Overland, Chris Curling, George Faber
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: January 25, 2000
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305692629
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,193 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "My Son the Fanatic" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Most generation gaps focus on conservative parents and radical kids, but My Son the Fanatic depicts the opposite: taxi driver Parvez (Om Puri) can't understand why his son has turned to Muslim fundamentalism, calling the Western world of their corner of London corrupt and driven by sex. Meanwhile, Parvez finds himself working for a hedonistic German businessman (Stellan Skarsgård from Breaking the Waves and Good Will Hunting) who has more or less hired a prostitute named Bettina (Rachel Griffiths from Hilary and Jackie and Children of the Revolution), with whom Parvez has become friends. As Parvez's wife also turns towards fundamental ways, and a Muslim holy man comes to live in their house, Parvez turns more and more to Bettina for solace. Their friendship turns more intimate, bringing the family conflict to a head. This could be little more than a midlife crisis fantasy, but My Son the Fanatic thickens its story with cultural details and well-developed characters. The performances are rich and affecting; Om Puri is charming and sympathetic, and makes Parvez's moral conflicts genuine and understandable. Though Bettina, as a hooker with a heart of gold, is a bit of a stereotype, Griffiths's integrity as an actress makes the character compelling. An affecting film that doesn't provide easy answers to the difficult questions it explores. Written by Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Laundrette, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid). --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

Academy Award(R)-nominee Rachel Griffiths (HILARY AND JACKIE, MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING) stars in a critically acclaimed story of unlikely love set against a clash of cultures and generations! Parvez is a cab driver who left Pakistan in search of a better life for his family. Now he feels that he is losing his only son, Farid, to the conversative beliefs he abandoned long ago. Meanwhile, Parvez befriends a compassionate woman (Griffiths) and finds the comfort, support, and tenderness he does not have with his own family. When the disapproving Farid discovers this relationship, however, an uncomfortable situation boils over as Parvez is forced to choose between the son he adores ... and the woman who understands him!

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Made in 1997 (ps: pre-911) it is remarkable how a movie so simple in its narrative, and so in the shadow of critical cinema, could depict such smack-dab nuances of eastern immigrants at odds with a western setting or how the cultural assimilation of trans-national immigrants doesn't always look like a rainbow colored day at the beach.
But despite that seemingly ho-hum central tack, there are many conflicts studied very poignantly -- modern versus mediaeval, father versus son, fidelity versus emotional satisfaction, ethnic conservatism (ok, fanaticism) versus open minded cosmopolitanism, Good House Husband versus Bad Man Who Befriends Prostitutes, Decent Living Taxi Driver versus Someone Who Became Filthy Rich...and each is sublte yet hard-hitting in its simplicity.
Without giving away too much about the plot, there is no ordinary character in the movie, certainly no ordinary Muslim. The father (Parvez, played wonderfully by Om Puri) is a cabbie who flirts about in a relationship with a streetside floozy whom he finds more uplifting (no pun intended) than his standpat wife back home who disapproves of his free-wheeling ways and even finds his interests in jazz "too trumpety". The other Muslim, the son, is at loggerheads with his peers in throes of non-acceptance and instead gets inveigled into Islamic fundamentalism as an escape. This contrast is very, very credible, real and amusing.
Particularly noteworthy are Udayan's idiosynchratic implications about what constitutes "right" or "wrong" character. Parvez's prostitute girlfriend has a loving heart, a sharp mind and a vivacious presence despite her ostracization from the Good People Club. The son and his other right-wing Islamic acolyte buddies come off as annoyingly childish in a thoughtless "promiscuity" of their own.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can cultures intermix? April 16, 2002
Islamic fundamentalism and western hedonism collide in Hanif Kureishi's film "My Son the Fanatic", wich takes place in the small English town of Bradford.
The film was a huge hit in the 1997 Cannes film festival. It's intriquing way of combining comedy and drama earned it the Official Selection.
"My Son the Fanatic" gives us a peak to the life of Parvez, an Indian-Brittish taxi-driver, who doesn't care much about his roots, but is very fond of the western way of life. He befriends with the lower class of his town, eventually falling in love with a prostitute.
His son, Farid, represents a very different kind of thinking. He opposes the western way of living recklessly and seeks order. This leads to him leaving his English fiancé and joining a group of islamic fundamentalists.
The film that begins as a light comedy turns into serious drama as Parvez and Farid collide in their different ways of viewing life. Parvez's worry about his son and his long-dead marriage to his traditional Indian wife who doesn't approve of him mingling with criminals and prostitutes etc. offers us meaningfull moments, wich carry the deep characters through situations.
The film speaks for open mindedness, showing that a prostitute can be a good person and that a religious fanatic is always someones child. It offers much to think about while questioning common prejudiousness.
The adequate acting performances and Udayan Prasad's talented directing support Hanif Kureishi's insightfull script, wich unfortunately, or perhaps intentionally, is left a bit superficial.
"My Son the Fanatic" shows us that cultures can indeed intermix, and I recommend it strongly, especially at these times.
To quote Parvez: "Farid tells me cultures can't be combined. Jesus! You can't keep them apart!"
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
'My Son the Fanatic' is a tremendous film. The power & message of the film was surely powerful in 1998. But in my American winter of 2002, this film strikes deep. I've been to the Docklands, Hackney & Vauxhall - this film captures the base racism & grime of marginal London, never as an excuse, but as a living fact, and never a wall to what really matters. Love, Truth, or what seems to be. There isn't a Soul in this film who isn't searching for those same things. But sadly, they search for it with very different dreams.
The beauty of this film is its careful study of loneliness, and how a handful of isolated poor forgotten people dream in so very different ways. Some look for it in drugs, prostitution, simply surviving, or the Purity of Islamic Fundamentalism. And/Or just simply Living, and making it Work. In this movie, all moral choices collide, the participants are that close to making it work. None of them are wholly wrong.
I'll reveal no more, just to say that the camera-work is lively and excellent. The pacing is good, the message is so alive, this film deserves to be seen. It raises troubling questions about Terrorism and Fanaticism, and answers none. But that is the honest confused place we all find ourselves. It's 2002, it's up to your heart where you go from here... This film perectly captures one world. What's yours?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
The theme of immigrant children rejecting traditional values is a common one. But in this 1997 British gem, there's a twist. This screenplay, by Hanif Kuresshi, tells a story of a Pakistani-British taxicab driver whose only son reverts to Moslem fundamentalism much to his father's displeasure. It's a modern story, and we've all become painfully aware of these issues lately.
Om Puri, with his weathered pock-marked face, has the ability to create a character that is easy to identify with. He's a foreigner, the victim of racial prejudice. He has also become alienated from his family. And yet, he is bursting with vitality and is full of wisdom. When his son breaks his engagement with an English girl and turns to fundamentalism, he's horrified as it is against the basic principles of the secular life he has chosen for himself. He has nobody to turn to as a friend with the exception of Rachel Griffiths, cast in the role of a prostitute he chauffeurs around. She, too, is alienated, and as their relationship grows, the story become more complex.
Many of the scenes are shot inside the cab, and even though it took me a few minutes to get adjusted to the fact that the driver's seat is on the right in England, it really gave me the feeling of what a cabdriver's day-to-day life is like. The cross-cultural conflicts are sharp and grating as the son invites a visiting holy man to stay in their house and the young extremists demonstrate for moral decency. I could certainly identify with the father's dilemma as he grappled with his own complex moral choices. There's gentle humor too, and it adds to the humanity of the film, although I could never call it a comedy. It's simply an offbeat story with some unlikely people dealing with very real issues. Definitely recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars boring
boring. it starts as very interesting but gets pretty dull and boring a third of the way through. skipped the rest of the chapters by fast forwarding - not worth spending the time
Published 9 months ago by Reza Ganjavi
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD
I have been looking for this DVD for ages. I had seen it in the 90's and loved it. Enjoyed it.
Published 12 months ago by Odie
2.0 out of 5 stars Shoddy Art, Repugnant Politics, Brilliant Puri and Griffiths
"My Son the Fanatic," writer Hanif Kureishi and director Udayan Prasad's 1997 film about Farid, an English-born Pakistani boy who becomes a devout Muslim who firebombs a brothel,... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Danusha V. Goska
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this movie 10 years ago, love it now
I love the concept of this movie--a complete reversal of the stereotypic conservative-immigrant-parents-disapprove-of-modern-thinking-kids. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Nancy
5.0 out of 5 stars My Son The Fanatic
I received a very quality product and in a very timely manner. I purchased this movie for a class assignment and it was worth the very reasonable price. Read more
Published on March 12, 2012 by RayJean
4.0 out of 5 stars Cultures have to mix these days, but there's lumps in the batter
This charming film of intercultural trouble in 1997 Bradford, England, an old textile industrial town near Newcastle, is an artfully presented discussion of several points of view... Read more
Published on December 13, 2011 by Mary McGreevey
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Family Drama
A complex and touching movie. It definitely goes under the "drama" category, not comedy or "spoofs and satire. Read more
Published on September 21, 2011 by Jenn
5.0 out of 5 stars Self vs. family . . .
This thoughtful BBC film from writer Hanif Kareishi tells a complex story of a Pakistani taxi-driver, Parvez (Om Puri) in a northern British city, whose settled life comes apart as... Read more
Published on December 1, 2007 by Ronald Scheer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Little Film That Is Particularly Important Today!
MY SON THE FANATIC is a small scale film made in 1998 about the problems of cross culture assimilation between Pakistanis and the British - or rather between Muslim and Christian -... Read more
Published on March 11, 2007 by Grady Harp
1.0 out of 5 stars I hate this movie!!
Hello, i m Y-Paul, and i hate this movie, because it is so, it go me on the nerves!!

Yes, you like it, but i dont!!

Its my opinion!!!1908123745? Read more
Published on April 26, 2006 by Lucas Pauly
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