I had the script for Slumdog Millionaire, but among a big pile of scripts I'm reading only for my own benefit, and without any outside guidance as to what's most worthwhile, any script that opens with someone being beaten and electrocuted is not going to keep me reading. Character getting beaten on page 1 is usually a good proxy for "I will not enjoy this film. This film is not for me." And so I put it down and never returned to it and only went to see the movie last night because a friend wanted to for his birthday, and the reviews were really good.
And it's a great movie. Non-spoiler plot: bottom-of-the-social-class Indian kid ends up as a contestant on their local version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Vaguely sounds like the plot of "American Dreamz" from a few years ago, except that was a broad, unambitious comedy and this was an Epic. The most ambitious movie I've ever seen and enjoyed, I think. A story of class struggle in India and life at the bottom of the social caste, effectively trapped in poverty and fighting just to stay alive. Whether or not it was an accurate portrayal of life in India, it *felt* authentic, it *felt* real. This is the anti-Monsoon Wedding. No one seeing this movie will leave ever wanting to go to India. No one seeing the movie will leave unmoved.
It's a brilliantly done, wonderfully cinematic, piece of art that takes you into a world you do not know and lets you explore. It did not feel like two hours had passed from beginning to end. It was balanced with enough levity and lightness. Some movies, I leave and I like them but I think, hey, properly inspired I could probably write something like that. This movie, I could never have written. Which is part of what made it particularly rewarding to watch.