Presented at the Cannes Film Festival to close out the Directors' Fortnight, the film Patti Cake$ earned a standing ovation that was over five minutes long. While it's traditional to clap after screenings at Cannes, this was a special case.
The refreshing feel-good movie breaks down every stereotype you've ever had about rap. Inspired by memories from his past, director Geremy Jasper tells the story of an overweight white girl in New Jersey who dreams of meeting her idol O-Z and becoming a rapper herself.
The film came out in theaters on August 18, and we've come up with five reasons why you should go see it.
#1. Because rap movies are the best
Especially when they break down stereotypes!
Wild Style, released in 1983 and considered to be the first rap film, along with 8 Mile in 2002, both paved the way for success story movies about rappers.
Since then, hip hop has inspired a whole range of movies and television shows, from Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2005) to Straight Outta Compton (2015), The Get Down (2016) and Brooklyn (2014).
But director Geremy Jasper does it a bit differently. His film is inspired by his own experience trying to break into the rap scene, but he replaced himself with a chubby girl from Jersey.
During the day, she works as a waitress to pay the bills and gets made fun of because of her weight. At night, when she's not dealing with her alcoholic mother, she hangs out with her best friend Jheri. Together, they come up with raps and big dreams.
The setting is a poor neighborhood where people are used to dealing with rejection, but this is not your typical rap story. While films like Brooklyn and Sonita have focused on women in the rap scene, Patti Cake$ feels refreshing because of its quirky heroine.
# 2 The incredible acting
Danielle Macdonald's performance is completely mind blowing, and there's no doubt her career is about to explode. Before this, she was neither a rapper nor a well-known actress, and now she's both. We're almost ashamed we didn't know about her sooner.
Especially because she's appeared in Glee, Pretty Little Liars and American Horror Story: Roanoke. But Geremy Jasper knew she was perfect for this role. She has the perfect face for it – she can be just as hard as she can be sweet.
She had to train for two years with actor Tim Monich to work on her Jersey accent. In parallel, rapper Skyzoo helped her develop her punchlines and lyrics. With the director, she ended up recording one song each week. Macdonald went above and beyond for this role and the results are magnificent.
#3 Because the whole film is cathartic
The director has made no secret about the film being autobiographical. He even pulled out some of the old lyrics he had written when he was a young, aspiring rapper.
Despite his failure to break into the scene, he did end up in a rap group called The Fever and music has continued to be a big part of his career. He recently co-directed the clips for "Dog Days Are Over" by Florce + The Machine and "Love You Like A Love Song" by Selena Gomez.
#4 For its style and color
The film is rich in color and style. With old school cars, dimly lit bars and shimmering lights, the film has the dreamy quality of a music video. The young rap diva's dreams flow perfectly with the fluorescent green, sometimes ghostly atmosphere, from the empty streets to her dusty recording room.
The costuming in the film is also a strong point. Designed by Miyako Bellizzi, the former Vice fashion director has worked as a stylist for the New York Times, Details and Ladygunn.
She's sure to make a name for herself in cinema after her work on Patti Cake$. She also recently worked on the Safdie brothers film Good Time starring Robert Pattinson, which came out on August 11.
#5 Because we missed Grandmaster Flash
Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down was one of our favorite shows of 2016, and Grandmaster Flash in the role of the mentor Shaolin Fantastic was probably one of our favorite characters.
The actor who played Grandmaster Flash recently appeared in The Circle with Emma Watson and was also just cast in Brie Larson's Unicorn Store. In Patti Cake$, he plays a member of Patti's crew, a mysterious antisocial guy named Basterd. With his unique style, we're sure to see more of Mamoudou Athie.