(2016) (Alex Hibbert, Naomie Harris) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: A character grapples with growing up poor in the rough inner-city, dealing with bullies, and trying to sort out his sexuality as he transitions from a shy and picked-on boy through being a teenager and then an adult man.
- In the south Florida neighborhood of Liberty City, Chiron (ALEX HIBBERT) is a young boy who lives with his single mom, Paula (NAOMIE HARRIS), and has been given the nickname "Little" due not only to his small size, but also him being a quiet, introspective kid who keeps to himself. His more outgoing friend, Kevin (JADEN PINER), tells him he should stand up for himself so that he's not seen as soft, especially since he must contend with homophobic slurs hurled his way from bullies who torment him. He escapes from some of them into an abandoned apartment where he's discovered by crack dealer Juan (MAHERSHALA ALI) who realizes the boy is hurting, alone and afraid. With Chiron not telling him where he lives, Juan takes him back home where he and his girlfriend, Teresa (JANELLE MON┴E), care for the boy until he finally opens up.
Years later, Chiron (ASHTON SANDERS) is now a teenager who's still friends with Kevin (JHARREL JEROME) and often stays with Teresa due to his mom now being a strung-out prostitute. He must still contend with bullies, including Terrel (PATRICK DECILE), and is uncertain about his sexual identity, what with being drawn to Kevin and vice-versa. But any budding romance there is ended when Kevin bows down to pressure from Terrel to beat a boy of his choosing. To no one's surprise, that ends up being Chiron who finally reaches his breaking point.
At least a decade later, Chiron (TREVANTE RHODES) is nearly unrecognizable with his gold plated teeth rims, muscular body and living the lifestyle of a well-to-do drug dealer. Out of the blue, he gets a call from Kevin (ANDR╔ HOLLAND) who, like Chiron, served time in prison but is now a cook who'd like to see his old friend. When the two meet, their future remains uncertain.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- Older teens might be, especially with the critical buzz about the film.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For some sexuality, drug use, brief violence, and language throughout.
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