Thursday, January 26, 2012


This was going to be paired with something else: At first, Red Tails for both having predominately-black casts or A Dangerous Method, which I saw on the same night. But I really said all I had for them in the TWIT entry(*). Then I figured a "first love" pairing with Young Goethe in Love, but my work schedule made that one tough to catch during its one-week booking (and its not going to happen tonight, as the Sundance USA show at the Coolidge and attendant Q&A will likely run long enough that catching the last show will be impossible. That's a shame, really - I wasn't really interested until I saw it was from the same director as North Face, which I liked quite a bit.

(*) Well, not all I had to say, but all I had to say without appearing foolish or ignorant, which is always nice to avoid.


* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 19 January 2012 in Landmark Kendall Square #7 (first-run, 35mm)

Films about contemporary youth are tricky things; as much as many filmmakers would like to make a great one, it's a rare thing for a filmmaker to be both close enough in age to the teenage characters of a story like this to have a clear view inside their heads and have honed their skills enough to tell the story this well. So the word done by Dee Rees here is even more impressive; she's managed to make a pretty fantastic film despite not being much older than her main character.

That character is Alike "Lee" Freeman (Adpero Oduye), a seventeen-year-old girl from Brooklyn with good grades, an interest in poetry, and a family that has its frictions but is more intact than many. The latest and largest source of that friction is Laura (Pernell Walker), a dropout that Alike has been spending a lot of time with; she likes other girls and from what they do when hanging out together, it looks like Alike is starting to lean in that direction. Alike's father Arthur (Charles Parnell) avoids the issue, but mother Audrey (Kim Wayans) decides to lay down the law, banning Laura from the house and insisting Alike walk to and from school with Bina (Aasha Davis), a nice young lady from their church.

The obvious place to start when talking about this movie is Adpero Oduye, who is close to perfect as Alike. Part of it is her look; she's just androgynous enough in appearance to potentially register as a boy in the low-lit opening scenes where she's wearing bulky, shapeless clothes, signalling early on that this isn't a phase, but that she isn't like most girls. A larger part, though, is the attitude she brings to the character; Alike can be a sullen, combative teen, but there's a large part of her that is not truly cynical yet. She's smart both inside and outside the classroom, and her self-awareness makes the character more interesting; we can see that she recognizes the sort of isolation she's heading for.

Full review at EFC.

1 comment:

MicBoyzInc said...

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this is a review of a film released today in Kerala