Depending on your capacity for rap, you may find “Patti Cake$,” written and directed by Geremy Jasper, an appealing offbeat film with a magnetic heroine. Danielle Macdonald, seriously overweight, plays Patti, who may lack self-confidence and be ridiculed but, on the other hand, is eager to be a performer. The film, included in the 2017 New Directors/New Films series presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, is now in commercial release.
I had no idea of the busy rap scene in northern New Jersey, to which Jasper, a musician and former music video director from Hillsdale, is attuned. He has been inspired to direct his first feature film, and it is alive with passion and the effective depiction of the scene.
Macdonald makes an impression as a likable young woman with heart, and one is seduced into rooting for her. Siddharth Dhananjay as Hareesh is also effective as her partner, who encourages her, and they acquire as a collaborator, Mamoudou Athie. Another major role is played by Bridget Everett as Patti’s alcoholic mother, a faded singer.
The primary force in the film is leading lady MacDonald, who, in her role seizes he opportunity to warm the hearts of filmgoers. It is a classic situation of a person who is basically shy coming out to strut her stuff and win admirers. And that’s whether or not one takes to the rap that is her passion. The director has pulled it all together effectively. It is Macdonald’s time to shine. Reviewed August 18, 2017.