Patti Cake$

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It’s a bleak setting many Americans will recognize: wide, treeless roads; trash-strewn strip mall parking lots; an inescapable sense of resigned hopelessness. But Patti perseveres, filling her notebooks with rap verses that she shares with her best friend Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay). When she can’t rap with Jheri, Patti escapes into elaborate fantasies, floating through green clouds of Wizard of Oz–style haze and dreaming of winning the favor of her rap idols with her rhymes. Patti Cake$ could easily be labeled a feminist 8 Mile, and at first glance, it looks just about identical: the fights with mom, the working poverty, the white rapper seeking to break into a traditionally African American art form. Patti Cake$ only escapes the 8 Mile cliché—the idea that it’s somehow heroic for a white person to succeed in a marginalized person’s world—on the strength of its actors, the versatility of its director (Jasper also penned Patti’s lyrics), and the fact that its script packs so much heart. While 8 Mile struggled under the weight of trying to remain true to Eminem’s account of his life, Patti Cake$—a work of pure fiction—feels much more real. by Portland Mercury Arts & Culture Editor Suzette Smith
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Credits
Director
Geremy Jasper
Cast
Cathy Moriarty, Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett

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