My Brother (2006) Poster

(2006)

User Reviews

Review this title
19 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
7/10
touching tale, if just a bit rough around the edges
Roland E. Zwick21 July 2007
Isaiah Morton is a not-very-promising, aspiring standup comic who lives in Brooklyn with his developmentally disabled brother, James, whom he has been taking care of ever since the death of their mother a number of years back. Even though he is totally devoted to his younger sibling, Isaiah has recently come to resent the burden James places on his life. Desperate for money, Isaiah foolishly agrees to pull a job for a local gangster, an act that sets into motion a series of events that may well spell the end for both Isaiah and his brother.

With its somewhat meandering narrative structure, "My Brother," written and directed by Anthony Lover, may not always feel as fully formed or thought-out as we would like our movies to be, but its heart is definitely in the right place and it does an effective job exploring the complications and complexities inherent in human relationships. In fact, it may well be this LACK of sophistication and slickness that makes the movie feel less contrived and more convincing in the long run. For instance, Isaiah's brief flirtation with a white woman he meets at a party is intriguing precisely because it doesn't in any way enhance the story or advance the plot. It simply feels like a scene ripped from his life, a nice piece of reality tossed into the mix to make the movie more authentic.

Moreover, there are earnest, heartfelt performances by Nashawn Kearse ("Desperate Housewives"), Vanessa Williams, Christopher Scott, Rodney Henry, Donovan Jennings and even Oscar-winner Tatum O'Neal in key roles.

The best scenes are those set in the past, in which a terminally ill single mother (the lovely Williams) struggles against tremendous odds to instill character and values into her two young boys, values they will desperately need if they are to survive and thrive in a world marked by poverty, racism and prejudice. The movie does veer towards the sentimental at times, but it earns its emotions honestly and forthrightly. And even though the crime drama scenes may not always be entirely convincing, it is as a family drama and a tale of total unconditional love that "My Brother" ultimately touches the heart.

Incidentally, as a companion piece to this film, check out "Two Brothers," a documentary that focuses on Scott and Jennings, both young actors with Down Syndrome, and their very powerful work in "My Brother."
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
A movie to be seen by everyone
jan-nash13 February 2006
I had the opportunity to preview this movie. By the end, I was so moved that I wanted to stand and cheer for the characters, and the movie itself. It was poignant and heartwarming. There are scenes that I will always treasure. Anytime we can show the public how families hold onto the love in the face of tough odds, we should. "My Brother" does just that. I was raised to take care of my sisters. I have no brothers, but I do have grandsons. As brothers, I would want them to see how important the ties between brothers ought to remain. There are so many movies made that make us question the value of how a family should be with brother-against-brother. It is important to see the other side of the coin. This one rates up there with Claudine. Big thumbs up! I hope everyone sees it.
18 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Moving and ultimately uplifting..Vanessa rocks!
crazybunny383725 March 2006
I saw this film in an early screening with a lot of industry types. Vanessa Williams was absolutely beautiful, as was Tatum O'Neal. This is a movie that isn't afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve and the family relationships portrayed are touching and, ultimately, inspiring. The director's choice of actors in two important roles was especially brave and resulting work of the entire family unit as an ensemble is what makes the film tick. I look forward to seeing the film in a finished state, with score and final edit in place, and will recommend it to friends seeking the kind of kitchen-sink drama that used to be a staple in entertainment.
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
A Huge Fan of Vanessa Williams
aaronleebattle9 June 2006
I admit I'm a huge fan of Vanessa Williams, so I was looking forward to seeing this film when I heard about it. I lucked into a screening and thought it was just so moving and thought provoking. I haven't seen a story on screen in a long, long time that touched me so deeply. The supporting players were all wonderful and I think this is truly a film deserving of a wide audience. My favorite scenes involved Vanessa and her sons, as well as the scenes in which she is trying so hard to hold her family together. I think her work in this film is of high quality and I am pleased that she is getting an opportunity to show her talents as an actress.
7 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
This is a truly awful movie.
joeednells15 March 2007
This is a truly awful movie. Almost painful to watch. The only check that could be placed in the positive column is the movie's compassionately short running time. It's obvious from all the positive reviews below, that the film maker has many friends and family members. That or a lot of people have been drinking way past their limit. The Village Voice trashed this movie. They were being kind. Pluto Nash, Battlefield Earth, Showgirls, Gigli, and now... My Brother. I will die with less brain cells after sitting through this train wreck. This is an insult to cinema.

Stay away.
12 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Ready for the Big Screen
Ldonahue-515 February 2007
I saw a screening copy of this movie. It's hitting the big screen in select markets having won a host of indie awards. It's one you don't want to miss. Strong theme, content, excellent acting and well worth viewing -- an African American film that draws on a dying mother's (Vanessa Williams) love for her children; an older brother's love and commitment for his younger, special needs brother; and the ever complicated human element of care-taking both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. It deserves to be seen everywhere. My Brother is coming to some big markets. Look for it in you area and take the time to go see it. You'll be glad you did. Good luck to the folks working on this great project.
6 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Heartwarming and positive
boarder_emre22 February 2007
I saw this movie at American Black Film Festival. It is a positive black film with positive messages. Also, a great performance by Vanessa Williams. Little actors were great also, and the lead role and Fredro was great also. After my interest in this movie I looked them up on the net and found their site; mybrotherthemovie.com (they are also on youtube.com/profile?user=LibertyArtists). In there they have a mini-documentary showing how they worked with the developmentally-disabled. Seems like a very caring bunch of people. The developmentally-disabled did great because of it. And the result is a heartwarming and positive film. Go see it yourself, I think it opens on the 16th of March.
8 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Beautiful acting, directing and writing!
missblissfull3 March 2007
This film was probably the best movie I have seen in a couple of years. It makes you think about how important family, humanity and real love is in this material world. It is heartwarming, all-inclusive and have noticed that they are winning awards at all the festivals around the country. Not to mention making people think twice about mentally disabled people, people of different races, and economic backgrounds. But like, with anyone, a little bit of love gos a long way. If this gets nominated for the Oscars next year, Vanessa, Nashawn, Christopher, Rodney and Donvan should be recognized for their acting excellence. And Anthony should be nominated for Directing. I recommend that everyone see this and learn how to behave with one another. Peace, Harmony and ONELOVE....Laura Fay Lewis
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
I attended an early screening of the movie
iscott-215 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In the Fall of 2005, I attended one of the first screenings of this movie. Since the editing was not finalized, it was obvious that more work was needed on color and sound quality, complementary background music and tighter screen transitions. But, even with the movie in this early editing phase, it was an enjoyable, deeply committed and motivating showing. This movie invokes laughter, joy, tears and a sense of "WOW". It presents a very unique close bond between two brothers and all the challenges of life that could potentially break the relationship. The actors were so real and close, that I felt that I was going through the experiences with them. This is a must see movie for all, whether rich or poor, cerebral or challenged, young or old, or in any ethnic group.
6 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Cinematography rocks!
brodykane-315 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.
7 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Bad beyond words
random_rrr18 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.
7 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Shameless and exploitive.
kelly minka15 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.
8 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Sloppy Film-making
blacklove16 March 2007
Warning: 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.
6 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Saw one of the previews.
jrawlsphilippe22 December 2005
Warning: 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.
8 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Just awful!
sourgirl-29 July 2007
Worst movie of the year! Painful to watch really. Almost bad enough to use as a torturing device. Clumsy scenes, bad story telling, going from a to c, then to d, b, a.. Useless character, bad acting..

To name out some of my "favourite" scenes: "Don't beat up women", "Drunk & moaning on the floor" and all the scenes with really bad facial expressions. And you gotta love the mental institution and angry black sisters scenes too!

There's trying too hard and then there's hardly trying. You've seen this all before but in a much better package. This is stereotypes glued together with something sticky that tries to be heart warming , warm and lovely. It might have been a good movie with some other director in charge.

The story line is just ridiculous. Just as it starts to get interesting and there's at least some kind of pulse on the movie, the story changes, the time changes and you're left wondering what just happened.

This movie leaves you breathless in a bad way.

I think I need a bath now.
3 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Black/White? Love is Universal !!!!!!!!!!!
bxpenterprises4 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 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
It was a very touching story.
patriciaingmire19 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.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Two good performances, one awful script.
krebs-michelle4 January 2008
Warning: 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.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
A Beautiful Love Story
SassyLady61118 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.
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews