Somewhere in Garden Heights, the fictional American town at the center of On the Come Up, is a spectacular mural by Lawless, one of the community’s biggest rappers. His daughter Brie Jackson (Jamila C. Gray), nicknamed Lil’ Law, frequently visits the vibrant portrait when she needs guidance. This is a meditation practice, a method of refocusing. Bri is determined to be one of the greatest rappers to come out of the Highlands – just like her father.
came up , Sana Raisen is cool, Confident directorial debut, chronicling the 16 year-old’s journey to stardom and honoring her late father’s legacy. The film has premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and will be released by Paramount+ in September , based on the novel of the same name by Angie Thomas . Thomas’ debut The Hate U Give also got the big-screen treatment, and over the years has become a sort of contemporary bard for young black kids, sensitively recounting their coming age. story. Her style may not be new (her work shares a similar vocabulary to that used by writers like Sister Souljah), but they have captured the attention of the zeitgeist.
BOTTOM LINE A guaranteed directorial debut .
Venue: Toronto International Film Festival (Special Screening, TIFF Next Wave)
release date: September, Friday (Paramount+) 16 Cast: Jamila C. Gray, Da’ Vine Joy Randolph, Lil Yachty, Mike Epps, Miles Gutierrez-Riley, Director:Sanaa Lathan16 Screenwriter: Kay Oyergan Rated PG-, 1 hour55 minute
Lathan’s adaptation of the screenplay, written by Kay Oyegun, captures the youth and poetry of Thomas’ novel. On the Come Up is an expansive narrative about family, chasing dreams, and maintaining integrity that will no doubt find fans among younger audiences. Even as it piles on clichés and becomes a little too reliant on the necessary melodramatic beat, the movie hasn’t lost its heart.
There are very few places where Bree feels peaceful. But when she stands in front of her father’s mural, fondling a gold necklace that her father gave her during his lifetime, she can forget her troubles for a moment. Her mother Jay (played by Ryson), a recovering heroin addict, is months behind on rent and electricity bills. Her brother Trey (Titus Markin) tries to help, but he only pays so much for his job at the pizzeria. At school, Bri and her best friends Malik (Michael Cooper Jr.) and Sonny (Miles Gutierrez-Riley) face constant surveillance from security guards who find them more suspicious than most other white students.
Rap is another antidote. Standing at The Ring, a local boxing center where aspiring veteran rappers go head-to-head, Bri takes on a different personality. Written by North Carolina rapper Rapsody, her lyrics showcase fluid flow and verbal dexterity. Her performance doubles as a release of stress around her. When she enters the area, she will soar.
On the Come Up opens with Bri trying to fight local rapper M-Dot (GaTa), but the young girl before Just choked and the game even started. As M-Dot mentions her mother’s heroin addiction and her father’s passing, Bri storms off the stage angrily instead of spitting. Right behind her is her manager and aunt, Pooh (a terrific Da’Vine Joy Randolph), who tries to remind Bri that failure is part of the process. She encourages her niece to never give up, which is one of the recurring lessons in the film.
Bri tries to keep that in mind and ends up returning to The Lord of the Rings, but her return is harrowing. On the second day of the fight with the M-Dot, Bree was physically attacked by a security guard at the school. School administrators suspended Bri for her “aggressive” behavior and history of selling contraband (candy) on school property. The situation is further complicated by Jay’s loss of his church job due to budget cuts. A fragile reality shakes, and Bri doubles down on her rap dreams. She’s back in the ring and won a fight against local favorite Miles (Michael Cooper Jr) and the son of lawless old manager Supreme (Method Man). An epic exchange redeemed Bri and put her on the map.
The added profile makes Bri question Aunt Pooh’s ability to manage her. After a risky situation — partly due to Pooh’s long-running feud with another gang — that got the young rapper banned from The Ring, Bri dropped her aunt and signed with Supreme. But there’s a sinister bottom line to this sweet deal, especially as Supreme encourages young rappers to sing and adopts characters that cater to rap’s biggest consumer, the white suburban kid.
As an adaptation, On the Come Up doesn’t have much narrative flexibility. Lathan is closely tied to Thomas’ complex story, but it doesn’t always make it to the screen perfectly. Certain parts of the film—Brie’s parking lot battle with another female rapper, Sonny’s burgeoning queer relationship, even Brie’s own romantic adventures—feel immature enough to touch us A theme that will never return. The film is nearly two hours long and takes twice as long to fully develop these plot points, which rely on clichés and awkward expositions to fit into the narrative.
On the Come Up When it focuses on Bri’s fight, especially the touching ending, and her relationship with her, it finds Look your best and feel your most awake Mom and Pooh. Rapsody’s clever and expressive lyrics deepen our understanding of Bri as she struggles to define herself amid all the rumors about her family. Every rap Gray plays with a playful, endearing energy represents a step Bri has taken in growing into the person she is proud of. The same tenderness flashes in Bri’s exchanges with her mother and Pooh, two women who deal with and respond to their circumstances in different ways but share a common commitment to Bri’s happiness and success: when she is most needed and challenged , their emotionally quick dialogue will warmly wrap the young teenage girl who helps Brie get closer to who she wants to be when she thinks she doesn’t.
16 whole Credits 16
Venue: Toronto International Film Festival (Special Presentations, TIFF Next Wave) 1616 Publisher: Pie Ramon Films 16 Production Company : Paramount Pictures, Temple Hill, State Street Pictures16 Cast: Jamila C. Gray, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Lil Yachty, Mike Epps, Miles Gutierrez-Riley, Justin Martin, Titus Makin, Michael Cooper Jr., GaTa, Sanaa Lathan, Cliff “Method Man” SmithDirector: Sana Lai Sen 16 Screenwriter: Kay Oye Root 16 Producer : George Tillman Jr., Robert Teitel, Wick Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Isaac Klausner, Angie Thomas, Timothy M. Byrne
Executive Producer: John Fischer
Photographer: Eric Branco
Production Designer: NC Page Buckner
Costume Designer: Leigh Leverett 55 Edit: Steve n Rosenblum55 Composer: Daniel WohlCasting Director: Leah Daniels Butler, George Pierre Rated PG -16, 1 hour 55 minute
16 THR Communication 16
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