Prove your humanity

Patti Cake$ tells the story of Patricia Dombrowski (Danielle Macdonald), a twenty-something year old aspiring rapper fighting against her underprivileged New Jersey roots in her search for fame and glory.

This is an absolutely brilliant film that will suck you in from the very first limerick that comes out of Patricia, a.k.a Killa P, a.k.a Patti Cake$’, mouth. The characters and their struggles against the mundane normalcy of their lives in the hope of something better are exceptionally relatable. Their stories will hit close to home for anyone who has ever wanted to make something better for themselves, not just those interested in performing.

After watching the film, I learnt that Danielle Macdonald, the lead actor, is Australian. Despite this, her talented performance as a born and raised New Jersey local was very convincing. There was not a single moment during the film when I thought that she was anything but American. However, this could very well be due to the rose-coloured glasses I was watching this film through, and therefore a lack of critical viewing on my behalf.

While I normally go into every to-be-reviewed event with the intent to analyse and perhaps be somewhat critical, Patti Cake$ quite literally had me so wrapped up in the story, and riled up with excitement for the characters, that I actually wanted to cheer and clap at the end of their final performance. Luckily, I snapped out of my dreamy state and realised that the almost empty, grand, art deco style cinema that I was sitting in was perhaps not the most appropriate place for such a response. I’m sure that I would’ve received some odd looks from the few others sitting around me.

While Patti Cake$ is centred around rapping and the music industry, it has the ability to connect with anyone who will take the time to watch it, because it’s really just a film about life and growing up. A film about overcoming adversity, battling society’s expectations of what one should be or look like, our ever-changing relationships with family and friends, and the complicated and interconnected web that all of these aspects create.

Patti Cake$ is a feel-good drama; it is relatable and entertaining and it will leave you feeling inspired and hopeful. However, you’ll have Cathy Moriarty’s husky Nana voice saying “PBNJ” on repeat in your head for the next twenty-four hours, which is a real fucking pain in the arse.


Patti Cake$ is currently screening at Luna Leederville and Luna SX.