slumdog-millionaireOverview: A modern parable about the value of hope. “Slumdog Millionaire” tells the story of Jamal, a young man from the slums of Mumbai who tries to win back the girl he loved and lost by becoming a contestant on her favorite show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” The multi-layered story traces Jamal and his older brother Salim from their days as hardscrabble orphans to their late teens, examining the different paths they choose along the way to adulthood.

What I liked: The story’s improbability is its charm. The cast is solid, particularly the young actors who play Jamal and Salim as children. And as Andrew pointed out, director Danny Boyle cleverly uses something familiar – a game show – to frame the story and introduce the audience to the unfamiliar – India’s caste system.

What I didn’t: Not much. I found the game show host character’s pronunciation of the word “millionaire” (he says, “millon air”) a little annoying. Other than that, no complaints.

Final word: A must see, and worthy of the Oscar buzz it’s generating. Like other recent “little films that could” – think “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Juno” – “Slumdog” has a lot of heart, but without becoming overly sentimental.

My rating: Five out of five Amitabh Bachchan autographs.