Published 25 February 2009 · Main Posts Slumdog Millionaire Rjurik Davidson So I was surprised that Slumdog Millionaire won so many Academy Awards. I thought the film was good, but not a sweep-the-awards type of picture. Why not? It’s a question I’ve been pondering for a while. In the end, I felt that the romantic fantasy element of the film didn’t quite settle comfortably with the social realist element. We know, of course, that the story is a fantasy: the main character’s arc is not representative of the majority of slum-dwellers lives. And to maintain such a fantasy usually requires the elision of significant elements of ‘reality’ and ‘realism’. In Slumdog Millionaire this fundamentally works against the social realist implicit critique of the slums in India. It just can’t work as an organic unity. What’s more, I find the combination of the two to be politically unsatisfying, for if we go for the straight fantasy, then I’m not thinking ‘this is possible; this is a serious critique’, as I would if it was a straight social realist piece (think of the works of Ken Loach, for example). The combination of the two in Slumdog Millionaire confuses this, and this means that the film tends toward a ‘cinema of consolation’: you leave the cinema feeling better about everything, about the slums and poverty because, well, everything turned out alright in the end. I liked the film – really I did. But I didn’t think it was that serious, in the end. And certainly not sweep-the-awards film it has become. Rjurik Davidson Rjurik Davidson is a writer, editor and speaker. Rjurik’s novel, The Stars Askew was released in 2016. Rjurik is a former associate editor of Overland magazine. He can be found at rjurik.com and tweets as @rjurikdavidson. More by Rjurik Davidson › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202311 November 2023 · Subscriberthon 2023 On the final day of Subscriberthon, Overland’s most important members get to have their say Editorial Team BORIS A quick guide to another year of Overland, from your trusty feline, Boris. I liked the ginger cat story, though it made my human cry. I liked the talking cat, too, but I’m definitely in the “not wasting my time learning to talk” camp. But reading is good. And writing is fun, though it’s been challenging […] 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 9 November 20239 November 2023 · Subscriberthon 2023 On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, Overland’s co-chief editor Evelyn Araluen speaks truth to power Editorial Team To my friends and comrades, I’m not sure if there’s language to communicate how this last month has utterly changed me. This time a few weeks ago the busyness and chaos of bricolage arts and academic labour had so efficiently distracted me from my anxiety about the upcoming referendum that I forgot to prepare myself for its inevitable conclusion.