Sweet, troubling, sad, and so well acted it has to be seen
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete (2013)
A deeply thoughtful movie about two charming kids who end up going it alone in the projects when their addicted mother is taken away. We are taken into the bowels of a pretty realistic low income housing world in New York City. The portrayal of the dangers might actually be watered down a bit, and it feels weirdly depopulated a lot of time, but the squalor and the general grim feeling works.
What clinches this movie, and no one will argue this, is the performances of both the leading actors, Mister and Pete. Mister, an African-American kid with thoughtful eyes, is about 12 and he's weirdly calm and sanguine through all the disasters. Pete, an Asian kid with sweet innocence written all over him, is a few years younger and needs Mister's protection. The odd but true friendship between the two is a lot of the movie, but the way each has to deal with the outside world in a series of difficult (and ugly and profane) incidents is what gives it depth.
It's fair to say this movie, and its African-American director George Tillman, have been overlooked. See it. It may not take creative leaps and it may not push every button at exactly the right time, but it has the sincerity and stunning leading actors to make it an important new film.
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