Aging teacher Carmela has a special heart for pupils from broken families, but is challenged by the headmaster for this. 12 year old Chala and Yeni, in which he is infatuated has, are both poor, and has severe troubles at home.
Armando Valdes Freire
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Writers John Engel and François Verjans and Director Vincent Lannoo have dished up this sad sack of a movie that has very little redeeming qualities. The focus is coming of age in America and the effects of abuse and near poverty on sibling relationships. It is a story that has been told before and likely will be told again: life on the wrong side of the tracks is tough and has negative effects on a pair of siblings.
No one is upset when abusive alcoholic Bill (Bruce Geduldig) drops dead, least of all his 19-year-old son, Shawn (Cameron Bright) and young daughter, Julie (Isabelle Blake- Thomas). Shawn's secretly grieving for his late mom, but isn't exactly the responsible type, stealing car parts with friend Matt (Martin Swabey). When their Aunt Monica (Astrid Whettnal) wants custody of Julie, Shawn balks, goes before a judge (John Flanders) to challenge that ploy, and the judge gives him a month's probationary period before making a decision about taking custody of Julie and with it the life insurance money. The dialogue is raw and repetitive and that needed tiny beam of redemptive light fails to appear even as Shawn pleads his case before the judge. But perhaps the strength of the film is that unspoken energy between older brother and younger sister that despite the motivation for Shawn's posturing for the life insurance and the custody, there still is a bonding between the two that is brighter on the side of Julie and of Shawn.
A small film that may make it on the small screen if the dialogue can get past the censors.
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