Tommy Oliver shot the autobiographical 1982 in his childhood home in Philadelphia, but has enough emotional distance from this portrait of addiction to depict melodramatic situations with a subtle quietude. Laundromat owner Timothy Brown (Hill Harper) regularly captures wife Shenae (Sharon Leal) and 10-year-old daughter Maya (Troi Zee) on Super 8 film, creating a moving scrapbook of their happiness. Crack shatters this image, turning Tim into an anguished protector. Oliver hits all the familiar notes in unfamiliar ways, focusing on the impact of violence and exploitation. Harper expertly balances Tim’s suffused rage with a stalwart devotion to his fragile family.
Review by Serena Donadoni
Released on February 26, 2016 by Codeblack Films (Lionsgate)
First published in the Metro Times.