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'Little Boxes' Review

Big questions, small protagonist

April 12, 2017, 12:00 am

The latest directorial effort from Rob Meyer (Aquarium) follows a non-traditional narrative of a biracial pre-teen coming of age in a predominantly white neighborhood. Premiering at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, Little Boxes centers around issues of race, class and privilege, proving a modest look at life’s little injustices.

While the storyline attempts to present an honest, relatable interpretation of the terrible teen years, the acting falls short on an otherwise great script. Meyer still manages to capture the heartache and harrowing realities of growing up outside the norm through a multiracial lens, regardless of the cast’s demure and stagnant characterization.

Between a food critic father and modern artist mother, Clark (Armani Jackson, The Last Witch Hunter) is raised among creative city-dwellers who teach him to reject conformity. While the familial connection between his mom Gina (Melanie Lynskey of Togetherness) and dad Mack (True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis) may not have been authentically warm or believable, the seemingly close family learns to acclimate to the drastically different domesticity that comes with living in a new super-white and super-weird suburban community.

After a move that’s supposed to seem stressful (but somehow only took all of two scenes), Gina and Mack drop old habits, like watching their child and smoking cigarettes, and quickly replace their regular coping mechanisms with new vices: day-drinking and angry home renovation. Noticing his parents spiraling out of control, Clark seeks solidarity with his new friend group—two little white girls with an affinity for rap music. Unfortunately, he soon discovers that to be considered cool in his town he needs to act “more black.”

Succumbing to peer pressure, disappointing his parents and ultimately learning how to think for himself, Clark’s character transformation throughout the film provides representation to a more diverse and dynamic audience, even if his parents kind of suck.

6

+ breaking stereotypes
- bad acting


Little Boxes
Directed by Rob Meyers
With Jackson, Lynskey and Ellis
Jean Cocteau Cinema,
NR,
84 min


 

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