Essential Film Directors, Stephen Frears

Directed by Stephen Frears, the 1985 film, My Beautiful Laundrette, is set in Margaret Thatcher’s London and follows the story of the Ali family, a group of Pakistani immigrants living in London.  Omar Ali, played by Gordon Warnecke, is shouldered with the burden of attempting to grow a struggling laundrette owned by the family.  Omar enlists the help of his old friend Johnny, played by a young Daniel Day-Lewis.  Omar and Johnny realize they share a deep connection with one another.

Johnny finds himself entwined with the Ali family through his relationship with Omar, as well as earning the affections of Tania, who Omar’s fiancé.  Omar’s uncle Nasser, the owner of the laundrette also takes an interest in the magnetic Johnny.  Placing Johnny in a position where he must ultimately choose what is the right thing to do between where he comes from and the man who he loves.

My Beautiful Laundrette

A talented director, Stephen Frears was born in Leicester, Leicestershire, England in June of 1941, at the height of World War II.  Like many at the time, Frears childhood was turbulent, but his parents worked hard to keep him away from the war as a young boy and give him as normal of a childhood as possible.  Frears went on to study at Gresham’s School, and later attended Trinity College in Cambridge.

Upon graduation from Cambridge, Frears gained employment as an assistant director on a variety of television program, mostly with the BBC.  By the 1980’s Frears began directing his won works, and gaining praise from critics and fans in the process.  He has since earned various awards and nominations for his body of work.

Frears currently resides in London with his wife, the artist Anne Rothenstein.

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After spending much of his early career working in television, Stephen Frears directed the feature film My Beautiful Laundrette in 1985, which kicked off the career of actor Daniel Day-Lewis, as well as his own.  The director went on to deliver popular films such as Dangerous Liaisons, Hero, Mary Reilly, The Hi-Lo Country, and Dirty Pretty Things.

Frears is best-known for some of his award-winning projects, such as High Fidelity and The Queen, a story about the death of Princess Diana which earned Frears and lead actress Helen Mirren great praise and recognition.

Never afraid to embrace the taboo, Stephen Frears continues to embrace topics of forbidden love with films such as Cheri, Prick Up Your Ears and Philomena.

Alexander Ryll
Launched in June 2014, Gay Essential is the world’s largest gay themed film blog promoting new and rare features. I am helped by some amazing writers and we also cover film festivals in the UK and USA. We are 100% independent, without advertising or funding by film distributors. Help to keep Gay Essential independent by purchasing our merchandise GET (Gay Essential Tees)
Alexander Ryll

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