Posted in Movie, Review

[Film] Laskar Pelangi

I have been looking forward to watching this movie because it is highly praised and recommended by medias. Unfortunately, i wasn’t able to watch this movie when it hit the theatres. The only way i could do was waiting until it’s available online. *evil grin*

In one way or another, this movie reminded me of Denias. If Denias was based on true story, this movie was based on the somewhat-fictitious (semi-autobiography?) book by Andrea Hirata. Unfortunately, i haven’t finished reading the book so this time i couldn’t compare the book with the movie. Both stories take place in so-called remote areas: Denias in Papua, and Laskar Pelangi in Belitong, and both of them explore those places’ beauty.

One similarity, though, that both movies tell us stories of poor children with unfailing faith and unfaltering determination to receive education at all cost. If Denias has to pass through the mountain to get to school, the boys in Laskar Pelangi have to wheel their bicycles from their homes to the nearly collapsed school. The point is, no matter how poor they are, they deserve to learn and study.

Actually, by looking at the director or list of casts of a movie, we can more or less tell the quality of it. Usually a movie with a lot of senior actors/actresses—like this one—will give the viewers decent acting and story plot. But, well…when i finally watched it…mmm…i cannot say i’m disappointed with the movie…but i have to say that i wasn’t drawn to it as much as i had anticipated. I don’t fall in love with this movie, but i simply like it, if i can put it that way.

Even though this movie has numerous characters, Laskar Pelangi shoots closely at the lives of three of them only: Ikal (Zalfani), Lintang (Ferdian), and Mahar (Veris Yamarno). They are the main characters of this movie, in addition to Pak Harfan (Ikranegara) and Bu Muslimah (Cut Mini). The movie starts off with the history of Belitong narrated by grown-up Ikal (Lukman Sardi) before we’re brought back to 1974 when the story began…


SD Muhammadiyah is the oldest Islamic primary school in Belitong which has been struggling to keep its existence. Mr Harfan, the school principal, together with Bu Mus and Bakrie receive an announcement that if they cannot get 10 students for the new term, they cannot start a new class and the school will be closed altogether. Most of the students coming to the school that day are poor children sent by their respective parents to study with little cost to incur—if not free—instead of helping them make ends meet. They are children whose parents believe that they deserve to study and have a dream worth fighting for.

When the school finally gets 10 pupils, they are named “Laskar Pelangi”—which is translated as Rainbow Warriors by a reviewer. Five years later, 10 of them are the only students the school has. Despite having only 10 students and 3 teachers, the school is full of dedicated teachers and determined students. They study hard and keep their dreams alive. They find ways to study despite their poverty.

For instance, if SD PN uses calculator to do counting, they use “lidi” (dunno what’s the English word for lidi ;p is ‘straw’ sufficient enough to describe it?) instead. They hardly have a pair of shoes to cover their bare feet, books and pencils to jot down notes, or chalk to explain lessons. They use no uniform, write on moulded-paged books, wheel a great distance to purchase chalk, and study under a half-ruined school building with leaking roof.

However, they manage to learn as many things as other students in SD PN do. They even manage to participate in a carnaval held to celebrate the independence day with limited sources and ample creativity. They have their own unique talents: motherless yet intelligent Lintang can do calculation without computing it in writing and musically talented Mahar. After they win in the carnaval, they participate in a “cerdas cermat” competition…which is predictably won by them as well.


The movie has some humorous scenes and some dramatic scenes that are supposed to be tear-jerking. However, the scenes are fragmented and incomplete as they keep jumping from one scene to another, sometimes unrelated to one another, so that i couldn’t help myself yawning halfway through the movie, especially when it comes to Ikal and Aling’s encounters (it doesn’t make sense to me that a boy at his age can fall in love and be obsessed to go to Paris because of her).

Thus, when it comes to the dramatic scenes, i found myself staring blankly at the screen, couldn’t manage to cry. I mean, when Pak Harfan dies, we’re supposed to be sad, too, right? But i didn’t. I was moved, however, by one of the last scenes in which Lintang bids goodbye to all of his fellow students and Bu Mus as he is unable to keep on studying. In the end, his brightness cannot get him out of poverty…

Lintang is my favourite character of this movie. His character is strong, and the child actor played his character so well… Even though sometimes i cannot distinguish him from Kucai as they look alike to me xp  I, like Ikal, admire him, too… I salute his strong-will and determination to study, his devotion to his poor family, and his sense of responsibility towards his younger sisters as he has to shoulder the burden to raise and take care of them all after his father’s death… I don’t know how he does it, but i guess he is able to go through it well…

Lastly, even though we don’t know whether the school manages to continue to exist thereafter, the students are told—and us as viewers—not to give up. We should live to give as much as we can and not to receive as much as we can…


This movie isn’t as ‘grand’ and heart-moving as i expected, but we do feel bad for the kids. It has its flaws in between. The kids’ struggle to keep on studying even though nobody comes to teach them, for example, isn’t as touching as that of Denias’. I think Denias does better to explore that side (and i gave higher rating to it). However, as some reviewers mentioned it, it is a feel-good movie and it offers something different in the period where horror movies and corny ‘adult’ comedies are flourishing.

Kalau nak pintar, belajar! Kalau nak berhasil, usaha!Hiduplah untuk memberi sebanyak-banyaknya, dan bukan menerima sebanyak-banyaknya…
— Pak Harfan

Kejar pelangimu sampai ke ujung dunia…
Jangan pernah menyerah…
— Lintang

Rating: 3.5/5
Director: Riri Riza
Production: Miles Films, 2008
Cast: Cut Mini, Ikranegara, Tora Sudiro, Slamet Rahardjo, Lukman Sardi, Ario Bayu, Zalfani, Ferdian, Veris Yamarno
Genre: Pendidikan

(Gosh. Gue jadi ikut-ikutan nge-review pake bahasa inggris gara-gara gue terakhir baca resensi film ini dalam bahasa inggris jua… i think i’m quite gullible and easily influenced +_+)

~images imported from various sources and are property of their respective owners~



I blog sometimes, gush ofttimes, snark all the time.

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