Sean Burdett’s review published on Letterboxd:
Edit: removing rating because I can’t handle the fact that Layla(Christina Ricca too) is 17 here and I don’t know how to reconcile that with my views of the film/Gallo’s actions in real life
This is an extremely difficult thing for me to write about as on paper I should hate it, but when it comes down to it, I really like this film. All the criticisms I've read both have merit and are ones I would have expected to agree with, And Yet. I like this movie. No, I love this movie. Honesty is really fucking hard to come by, but here Gallo doesn't embellish a single detail. His character is a piece of shit and there's no way around it. He's homophobic, sexist, and even violent on occasion. But. He's a human being. Just about every action he takes in this film is wrong, but at least it's real. A lot of the negatives that people talk about in this film are regarding Layla's attachment to Brown despite all he does to her, specifically saying that this is merely an ego trip for Gallo and that this is all his fantasy, but I don't view it that way. I think Layla is just an amazing person with a lot of love in her heart. She sees a broken person for his brokenness, but also his humanity. He's a human being and she decides that she'll do everything she can to support him, even though she barely knows him. Maybe that's even more ridiculous than the other reading, but I have to say I've felt that way myself. There have been times in my life when I've been a complete piece of shit, and the only reason I didn't get worse was that I met the right person at the right time who had compassion and love and wanted to help me through it. Maybe that's stupid and maybe Gallo just an asshole, but I think he's had a Layla in his life too. I think he knows that he's fucked up beyond belief and the only reason he turned his life around(well, we know how he is now but that's another question) was because someone was there for him. Maybe it's all bullshit and I'm stupid, but I think this is a really honest piece of film and a really compassionate one. I'm so thankful for the people and moments that have brought me here and I don't know where I'd be without them.