I want you to meet Patti Cakes, the poet I won’t shut up about.
Danielle Macdonald‘s starring performance as Patricia Dombrowski aka Patti Cakes invokes anger, especially when you fall into the role of being her cheerleader. The film paints a picture of a hardworking artist destined to become a hip-hop star. She’s a shy young white woman with a thick Jersey accent trying to find herself and her path, but it’s immediately apparent she has the skill to outwit the male-dominated scene.
An especially infuriating moment occurs when she’s facing a man who sold her and her best friend drugs earlier in a rap battle. Blinded by her lust for him and his talents, she challenges him and exhibits calculation and skill. He responds with with sexist, insulting, disgusting commentary about her body. Holding back tears, she fires back and he reacts by headbutting her in defeat and anger, breaking her nose.
Throughout the movie, Patricia goes through so many mishaps and so much bad luck, you might even talk to the screen, telling her to stop.
There’s a scene where she turns off the music during one of her catering jobs in a venerated hip-hop artist’s home in hopes that he will love her style and give her the magic elevator ride to stardom. She slides him her demo.
You ain’t no artist. You a culture vulture who ain’t got a clue who is you is.
It’s at this moment, the audience stops cheering on Patricia and looks at the bigger picture. Even when she kills it during a performance and she doesn’t win, that’s okay. She gracefully accepts the experience and validation in every crowd’s overwhelmingly positive reception.
She’s a skilled rapper, despite being a woman and not the “ideal American” physique. In the end, she gets the exposure she truly wants.