One could argue that Patti Cake$ doesn’t break any new ground, but that would ignore the infectious attitude of its determine young heroine, and how much it stands out from conventional variations.
At no point in Patti Cake$ is there ever a hint that Macdonald is unable to legitimately rap. She’s simply a revelation.
The Hollywood Reporter
Geremy Jasper’s dynamic debut crackles with energy and grassroots authenticity. But it wouldn’t have worked at all without the right leading lady, which it found in Danielle Macdonald, whose rapping seems convincingly born of her character’s rough life experience.
Debut director Geremy Jasper has said Patti is part-modelled on his own life, and there’s a real empathy on display here for her internal and external struggles, a gift which Mcdonald makes the most of in her own debut.
In the end, it’s the ensemble’s collective attitude, plus the palpable chemistry between Patti and her friends, that defines the experience, not the stock desire to be discovered. Though if Patti Cake$ really did exist, this movie would certainly make her star.
The obstacles and opportunities that Patti encounters are often rote, but her struggles and triumphs are detailed with a gravity that honors and elucidates her feelings.
Consequence of Sound
Patti Cake$ is a rags-to-riches story that too often comes off as a carbon copy of other, similar rags-to-riches stories.
The Film Stage
While there’s an infectious energy to the process of musical creation and an impressive lead performance from newcomer Danielle MacDonald, the feature debut of Geremy Jasper is ultimately hindered by predictable story beats and a cynical outlook at the world it’s capturing.
Patti Cake$ is by no means a hopelessly bad movie, it’s just hampered by its desperate need to be a crowd-pleaser.
The New Yorker
Jasper hits every note of sentimental manipulation in a tale that’s as fleetingly affecting as it is insubstantial and mechanical.