Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
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Three children become friends while living in a low-income neighborhood.
Digital Screening #4
This film is devastating on a level that I did not anticipate at all. Scarborough takes similar themes from something like The Florida Project (but focuses on many aspects and characters instead of one or two) and hits you in the gut with every turn. These kids are spectacular, and they play their characters like they are as real as possible. There may be a moment or two where things feel exaggerated, but for the most part, this one will go down is one of the most haunting yet beautiful experiences of the year. The filmmaking is rock solid, but what really stands out here is the script. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a pleasant film at all, as kids are being treated poorly, witnessing horrifying things, and having to deal with tragedy.
The pure level of heartbreak here may be too much, but if you can push through this, there is a lot you will be able to get out of it. The true heart of the film is Aliya Kanani who gets our kids through so much, yet she never gets the credit she deserves. Her heart is so big, and she feels as if she has to be there for these kids who are struggling in various ways at home. We get an in-depth look at each of their struggles, but we also see the other side of it all. Certain parents (on both sides) had my blood boiling, but the movie presents it in the exact way that it should. It is a little long, and extremely uncomfortable, but it is one of the best portrayals of something like this I have ever seen. It is just a beautiful movie. It doesn’t necessarily have the visual impact it needs to at times, but the screenplay is exactly what it needs to be.
🔜The Guilty (TIFF)