Customer Review

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love or Money, October 14, 2007
This review is from: Man Push Cart (DVD)
'Man Push Cart' is an absorbing slice-of-life movie. Many accolades have been heaped upon it, but it's availablity has been obscure for so long, which is a real shame. I have to admit that I was suspicious from the previews that it would be one of those "noble" entries one finds that becomes drawn out and tedious. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find how accessible and enjoyable this film really is.

Ahmad (Ahmad Razvi) is a typical immigrant protagonist. Coming from Pakistan, he lives and works in New York City, the quintessential immigrant city: One that's filled with opportunity as well as bewildering urban bustle and stress. Like many with ingenuity, he has his own business. He's a street vendor who sells hot beverages to commuters on a busy city street. The portrait of him and his life unfolds along the way in ways that are engaging and colorful.

Soon we find out that he has come to the one year anniversary of his wife's death, and he has been estranged to his son, Sajjad, whom his inlaws have custody. He is a hard worker, like so many immigrants, and this initiative pays off with one customer who hires him to do some work on an apartment. It is during this liason that we learn that Ahmad was famous previously, but I won't divulge the nature here. However, this new business associate gets him some new business for which he was famous, and from here he meets a lovely Spanish immigrant (Leticia Dolera) who becomes his new love interest.

He does what he can, but he seems to have to choose between love and money, welfare and family along the way. He has a friend named Muhammad (Charles Daniel Sandoval) who checks up on him, and from their conversations we pick up on their lives. Reflecting on making ends meet Ahmad says, "[It] Gets harder for people like you and me...What I need to do, I'll do." What makes 'Man Push Cart' so worthwhile is the intimate view of his struggles and motivations--what makes him tick and the decisions he makes to have a better life.

Complications develop and some of the movie borrows a bit from Italy's classic 'The Bicycle Thief,' but the story is so authentically presented that it feels like a documentary of real people than it does a movie rehash. The direction by Ramin Bahrani is excellent for making us walk in the shoes of Ahmad and feel the struggle of his journey.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 15, 2007 7:58:38 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 5, 2008 2:30:08 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2007 2:31:41 PM PDT
Thanks, Steve. It is. I was suspicious the film would be plodding and dull, but it really wasn't. The characters and developments are engaging and likable. JP

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2007 4:24:56 PM PDT
Jenny J.J.I. says:
Beautiful review, JP unfortunately I never heard of this director and by the looks of his profile he seem to have done three films so far and this one sounds like it's on top of the others, thanks for putting him out there.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2007 7:07:54 PM PDT
It is a little gem waiting to be watched. Thanks for the uplifting comments. ;>) JP

Posted on Apr 12, 2008 10:00:06 AM PDT
You refer to the Italian film THE BICYCLE, but I think you mean THE BICYCLE THIEF.

Posted on May 29, 2008 10:39:19 AM PDT
D. Pawl says:
I saw this film at a South East Asian Film Festival. It was very well done and engaging. Thanks so much for doing such a great job with this review.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2008 3:35:40 PM PDT
Thanks, D. Pawl. I really thought this movie was heartwarming to watch. :>)

Thanks for the heads up, Mr. Sipos.
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