Movie Details

In this alternately comic and grave reflection on the effects of Thatcherism on polyethnic England, middle-class liberals Rosie (Frances Barber) and Sammy (Ayub Khan Din) engage in an openly adulterous marriage while living in a lower-class neighborhood in London. When they're not hiding their troubled marriage behind a series of "enlightened" affairs, the couple associates with a social circle that ranges from leftist to radical and includes enigmatic street philosopher Victoria (Roland Gift). Sammy's long-lost father, Rafi (Shashi Kapoor), a South Asian politician, arrives for a visit just as rioting erupts in response to the killing of an innocent black woman by British police. Rafi decries not only the social upheaval that has transformed the country where he spent his halcyon university years, but also the lack of propriety on display in his son's marriage. Admitting that he's on the run for allegedly corrupt and violent political activities, the well-mannered yet manipulative Rafi uses his wealth to try to rein in what he sees as Sammy and Rosie's sexual and political excesses. Meanwhile, he tries to court Alice (Claire Bloom), the proper British lady he deserted decades earlier. The messy whirl of desire, resentment, and dogma that alternately throws these characters together and rips them apart ultimately reflects the confused and confusing society in which Sammy and Rosie live; soon even the unassailable Rafi must question his beliefs about life after empire. Sammy and Rosie Get Laid marked the second collaboration between director Stephen Frears and writer Hanif Kureishi; star Ayub Khan Din would go on to write another Anglo-Asian culture-clash comedy, 1998's East Is East. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi