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My Brother
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Reviews & Ratings for
My Brother More at IMDbPro »

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7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Cinematography rocks!

7/10
Author: brodykane-3 from Los Angeles
15 March 2007

This movie looks beautiful. The cinematography in this movie is stunning. For an independent film to look far and above the caliber of most studio films in a testament to the raw talent of the DP. I saw this film after sitting through a long day of independent movies. Some good, some bad, all looking sup-par. Then these images graced the screen. While i'm not a huge fan of this movie as a whole, I was captivated by the visuals on screen. Excellent job. While I understand the reality that is the new digital world of films, I feel we've lost something in the way of cinematic imagery. It's nice to see there's still some artists on the rise.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Two good performances, one awful script.

1/10
Author: krebs-michelle from Winnipeg, Manitoba
4 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was quite honestly the worst movie I've ever seen in my entire life. The two gentlemen who play the brothers in the title of the film do quite well with what they have, which is a script which is all over the place, full of implausible story lines, and too much of a dependence on "name" actors, though the filmmaker may have done this to get people to actually see it: people with developmental disabilities are pretty absent on the silver screen, and maybe he was hoping that having Vanessa Williams, Tatum O'Neill might entice more people to see it, but it didn't work.

The men playing Isaiah and James were good. Those are the only good points.

Tatum O'Neill was in the movie in a bizarre subplot (with a total screen time of maybe a few minutes, but she's one of the 'stars,' though she looked awesome) involving the lead character and a terrorism/diamond/Sicilian Mafia thing at a middle eastern embassy which made NO sense at all, and then two days later, Tatum O'Neill is totally in love with this guy and cries and says 'I'm not drunk, I'm tipsy, and I know what I feel, and I feel like garbage' or something like that.

By the end of the movie I was actually screaming at my television for Vanessa Williams to die already. And then all the sudden, just when I thought the Vanessa monster was gone (I think she died three or four times), her big head was floating above the brothers at the beach because they were suddenly and inexplicably children.. because the main character was on a train because he abandoned his brother... because of the diamonds... or something.

There is indeed almost zero presence on the screen of people with special needs, but can't someone do better? And don't get me started on the ethnic stereotypes.

"Three's Company" had more compelling plots and better writing. My ten year old daughter could've rewritten it for the price of a couple of hours of babysitting! After it was over I was SHOCKED to see it was only 90 minutes. I'd rather get root canal with no anaesthesia while having someone attempting to cut my head off with a pair of toenail clippers for ninety minutes. It felt like hours.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Beautiful Love Story

8/10
Author: SassyLady611 from United States
18 March 2007

The previous "Bad ..." comment is so off base, did this person really watch and listen to the movie? The comment regarding who has TB was crude and unnecessary. I saw the movie this weekend and found it to be very heartwarming to see such a strong bond between brothers. Having the disabled actors definitely added to the reality, their acting was outstanding. I commend Vanessa Williams for taking this role, it was unlike anything I have seen her do. She came across as real as she was faced with the uncertainty of the future of her children. Any mother could understand and feel her pain. I would like to have seen the comedy routine shorten and the ending a bit longer...it left me with questions. A great family film, shows the importance of family. I would not recommend for young children due to some graphic scenes.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

It was a very touching story.

9/10
Author: patriciaingmire from United States
19 March 2007

It was a very touching story. Thank you for making it. Both the young and the older actor did a lovely job. As a sister growing up I remember fighting to protect my brother from people who just aren't very nice. Luckily, we didn't grow up the 'hood' as these men did. Thanks for producing the movie. I thought all the performers did a excellent job in telling a difficult story. A single mom, raising two small boys under very hard conditions. I am grateful in our family we had a much better situation. I am glad the story was told. I found myself very sad at times when I saw what these young boys had to face. I can't imagine the heart ache their mother went thru knowing she wouldn't be able to care for them.

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6 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Sloppy Film-making

1/10
Author: blacklove from United States
16 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Quiet and subtle moments don't exist in this sloppy cliché riddled film that blatantly exploits the developmentally disabled. The subject matter of the developmentally disabled is developmentally disabled. It is never truly dealt with and explored and this is my reason for saying that it is exploited. We only get a scene of the developmentally disabled character James getting beat up by his peers when he's a kid, and one other scene with his mother (played by Vanessa Williams) telling his older brother, Isaiah "James is slow," with James right there in the room laying beside her. I guess the filmmaker forgot that James can hear!

We never get a sense of what life is like for James at work or socially. I went to school with a guy who was developmentally disabled who had friends and was never beat up. Did James not have any friends? Does being developmentally disabled bar James from having friends? We would never know from watching this film.

We never get to see why Isaiah and James get frustrated with each other, how they live together, etc. We do hear that James has a routine that he likes to follow, but not once do we get to see this routine. Instead the writer/director chooses to focus on a generic Sopranos like story that has many plot holes and is extremely unconvincing.

SPOILER

In one scene Isaiah is getting beat up by these mobsters and then he is a witness to one of the mobsters killing an innocent man. Then we see Isaiah at the apartment packing a bag and telling James that he has to go away. Of course, when Isaiah leaves the mobsters come to the apartment and attack James, even smearing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in his face (which I thought was over-the-top and ridiculous). Now, Isaiah witnessed one of these guys killing an innocent man. Would he really be that stupid to think that these guys (Who know where he lives) would not go after his brother? Give me a break!

Also, another unconvincing and inconceivable sub-plot involves a character played awkwardly by Tatum O'Neal who meets Isaiah at a diplomats party. It seems that in the span of one day she has fallen for Isaiah so much that she has a scene where she must cry over him. Although I didn't buy it, I tried to give the film a benefit of the doubt that this woman in her 40's may be interested in Isaiah who is in his 20's. I even tried to give this film the benefit of the doubt when Isaiah takes the Tatum O'Neal character to a crowded club where people are bumping and grinding to loud rap music, but what ensues in the club's ladies restroom is so unbelievable and so sadly plays into a stereotype of the angry black woman is so appalling that I let out a gasp in the theater.

One of the actresses in the scene was at the theater tonight when the film was shown, and she even expressed embarrassment with the scene. There was no reason for Tatum O'Neal's character to even be in the film. She served no purpose to the overall story. It's as if the director is a friend of hers and just wanted to put her in front of the camera. What a waste.

Not only is the story awful, but the cinematography and sound is sloppy. The lead character Isaiah, who is played by a dark skin actor, never had a consistent skin tone throughout the film. I believe that this is due to the fact that the cinematographer did not light for him. A competent cinematographer would know that he should light for actors with darker skin tones, especially when he is the lead, because darker skin tones are going to absorb more light. This is basic cinematography. Unfortunately, in some of the most important scenes we couldn't see Isaiah's facial features as a result of sloppy visuals (lighting and camera work).

On more than 4 occasions their was a problem with the sound not being synced to the visual. This is distracting and totally throws the viewer out of the story.

The only compliment I can give this film is the smart choice of casting Vanessa Williams. She is a real presence on screen and gives her cliché role all of herself. Her eyes and body language are true to her character in every single frame she is in. However, it is a pity that her character is written as a one-dimensional preachy saint that has to deliver some of the worst dialogue that has ever been put on paper.

I really, with all of my heart, wanted to like this movie, but the bad writing, horrible look and sound of this piece made it impossible to like. So far, this is the worst film I've seen this year. I dread the day when I see something worst.

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7 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Bad beyond words

1/10
Author: random_rrr from United States
18 March 2007

This movie is so bad in so many ways I don't know where to begin. It's barely over 90 minutes but it feels like hours.

When I saw the movie, I was thinking: OK, this is really bad, but I can forgive it a little bit since it's the director working out some very personal family history. Then, after reading the reviews here, I realize the director is white. WTF?! It would still be bad, but I could understand the false dialog, the trite treatment of the disabled and the stupid non-plot if it was a bad writer/director who was too close to the material.

But from an outsider, all that plus the offensive racial stereotypes are bad beyond words. It's hard to pick the worst. Is it Vanessa Williams "don't beat up women" speech? I think it's the drawn out "white woman in a black club" scene. Who has TB except drug addicts and inmates? I could go on for pages.

It reminded me of a review of Spike Lee's "She Hate Me" that said something like "This movie is a complete failure, but it fails in a magnificent way, in a way that only a genius could fail". This movie was the opposite. It fails in a way that exposes the complete lack of talent of the director/writer.

The leads, Vanessa Williams and NaShawn Kearse, deserve better material than this. By rights, they should have treated the script with contempt. I have to give them credit, they do the best they can with the crap they're given to work with. Likewise, Fredro Starr's performance is so much better than the script.

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4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Black/White? Love is Universal !!!!!!!!!!!

10/10
Author: bxpenterprises from United States
4 March 2007

I cant believe the last two comments!! If you didn't like the movie, well thats fine. Different strokes for different folks. But the comment about a White writer/ director telling a Black story is way off base and downright racist!! The comment should be removed from this board for provoking racism!! What about the Hughes brothers? They're Black/Talented, and they did "From Hell" with Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm and Robbie Coltrane none of whom are Black. And as for White directors, Jim Sheridan (Irish and white as baby powder) directed 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Trying. I think 50 could have had his pick of a number of directors, of many races, creeds, and colors. My point being is good story telling is good story telling. Its universal. And storytelling in this type of film is about conveying emotions which we ALL have, Black, White, Chinese, Portuguese, French, Purple, Green, Mauve, Whatever.You get the point!! Now as far as this movie goes. Its definitely worth seeing. Especially if you have children. Bring them. Any movie or TV show, or singer/music that conveys such a positive message of hope, LOVE, loyalty, and FAMILY is worth seeing. And as for the director. I looked him up. He actually won Numerous Emmys and was nominated for an Oscar. I think he knows a little bit about telling a great story on a big or small screen. The acting in this film is great. I can't believe how wonderful the performances from the two actors who play James (young and older) were, both of whom I believe to be developmentally disabled. This small film is a remarkable achievement. And anyone who provokes and exudes such negativity as was displayed in the last two comments is obviously angry and maybe needs some of the very qualities that this story tells us about injected into their spirit. At the very least it gave two developmentally disabled people the opportunity to show the world that they too have talent and abilities, and believe me this film did far more than just that. Hopefully this will continue to pave the way for more filmmakers to have the courage to give the underdog an opportunity in a business that is notorious for its exclusivity to mostly "marketable" individuals. Lets stay away from the angry comments people!! Judge the movie on its own merits, not your presumptions of the people behind the scenes that you know very little about !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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8 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Shameless and exploitive.

Author: kelly minka from United States
15 February 2007

This is without a doubt, one of the most shameless and exploitive movies I've ever seen. I attended a screening in Los Angeles, where the director spoke after the film. I was insulted that a white man felt his keen awareness made him the perfect choice to write and direct a movie about a black family dealing with a mental disability. The arrogance of this man was preposterous. However, the greatest insult of all is the movie itself. It's just plain awful. Not bad mind you, awful. The script is armature at best. The acting while elevated by the presence of Vanessa Williams is overall sub-par. If you're going to exploit the mentally disabled, at least have the wherewithal to make a good movie in the process. Don't waste your time or money on this movie.

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8 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Saw one of the previews.

1/10
Author: jrawlsphilippe from United States
22 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I must say that this movie was so bad that I wouldn't even act in it. It starts out well intermixing the past and present and the plot flows but the movie is so slow and about half way through they just forget about the main plot and show the boys growing up, which is nice and sappy but not with the main plot. Then, they try to tie up loose ends really quickly before the movie ends and leave a lot open, what happened to the blonde? The characters make blatantly bad choices and the director/etc. do not explain clearly what happened, even though it's a little obvious, but, why did the one guy die at the end? Why didn't anyone else if that was the case? I was thoroughly disappointed. It looked like they just wanted to give each of these actors a whole lot of screen time with no regard for peoples time.

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