This film is like every great film - multi-faceted, which means it has resonance that is almost universal. It's about a black girl. It's multi-racial. It's about children born of recent immigrant families. It's about coming of age. It's about being a girl. It's about mental health with limited support for families affected. It's about a brother and sister. It's about working classes. It's urban. It's London. It's Hackney. It's amazing and the story of Rocks and Emmanuel made me cry.
I chose the girl's story for personal resonance because girls on the verge of adulthood with talents, ambitions and dreams fire the film.
Rocks is British. Her grandma is Nigerian. Her mother troubled. She has a younger brother who loves dinosaurs and who has the lines that are the emotional heart of the film. "Close your eyes and think of everything that makes you happy. Keep breathing in and out." He says this when his sister and him are displaced to a grubby hotel as she tries to keep them together in their mother's absence and with Social Services looking to find them.
Before her mum leaves Rocks was able to live as a normal teenager with a group of friends I loved and envied. After her mum leaves the friendships are challenged and the challenges are coming of age, as maturity replaces innocence.
I have no more of the story to relate because it is the characterisation and superb acting that brings everything alive. Just has to be seen.
Shola (Bukky Bakray), or Rocks, as she's known, lives in a London council flat with her younger brother Emmanuel (D'angelou Osei Kissiedu) and their single mother. Mum is busy and stressed, leaving Rocks to spend all her free time with school friends. One day, she comes home to find her life radically altered: she is suddenly on her own with a child to take care of. Gavron could easily have steered Rocks into miserabilism, but delivers instead a surprising portrait of resilience. Rocks is mercurial, impulsive, and deeply sensitive - not unusual for her age, she sometimes makes desperately poor decisions, for what look to her like good reasons. When her closest friend Sumaya (Kosar Ali) tries to help, Rocks doesn't know how to accept it, blinded by Sumaya's two-parent household and relative comfort. —Toronto International Film Festival
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 20, 2021 at 01:19 AM