Danielle Macdonald

REVIEW: Patti Cake$ (2017)

Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, aka Killa P (Danielle Macdonald) dreams of being a rapper and escaping her life in New Jersey. With the help of her best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay) and some determination she fights to achieve her dream.

Patti Cake$ is your usual underdog story but its got so much heart to it that you can forgive it for pretty much any genre tropes it follows. That being said, it does have some unconventional story telling methods as Patti’s daydreams of meeting who she sees as rapping royalty O-Z (Sahr Ngaujah) are interwoven with her everyday life.

It’s the characters and performances in Patti Cake$ that really makes it. Patti’s relationship with her mother (Bridget Everett) is difficult and she has to work two jobs to support her and her Nana (Cathy Moriarty). Nana is the one who believes in Patti whereas her mother feels rapping isn’t a talent nor something her daughter should be doing. When Patti, Jheri, Nana and Basterd the Antichrist (Mamoudou Athie) are together making music you can feel the chemistry between them sizzle, like what you’re hearing could be something incredible.

Patti Cake$ is a realistic drama with a lead character you can’t help but root for. There are some funny moments in Patti Cake$, most of them come from Nana who brightens every scene she’s in with her blunt commentary, but it’s really a honest portrayal of a family struggling to survive when there’s bills to pay and little work to find.

Danielle Macdonald gives a, hopefully, star making performance in Patti Cake$. Her grit and determination pulls you into this story and you can’t help but to root for her. Patti Cake$ won’t be for everyone but it’s a small film with a lot of heart and some killer music. 4/5.

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