(directors: Shasha Nakhai & Rich Williamson; screenwriter: Catherine Hernandez, from her book; cinematographer: Rich Williamson; editor: Rich Williamson; music:Rob Teehan; cast: Liam Diaz (Bing), Essence Fox (Sylvie), Anna Claire Beitel (Laura), Aliya Kanani (Ms. Hina); Runtime: 136; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Shasha Nakhai, Kenya-Jade Pinto: Compfy Films/Level Film; 2021-Canada)
“A refreshing inspirational human interest story on those marginalized young citizens needing help and getting it.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Co-directors Shasha Nakhai (“Take Light”) & first timer Rich Williamson adapt Catherine Hernandez’s award-winning 2017 novel Scarborough to the big screen – from a screenplay written by Hernandez herself. Hernandez does a good job loosely basing the film on the time she ran a home daycare, as she gives recognition to the underprivileged and minorities in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, where the film is set.
Through a neighborhood local literacy center, run in the mornings, providing a safe space for low-income families to let their children socialize and participate in learning activities, the gentle social worker Ms. Hina (Aliya Kanani) runs a program that gives hope to her impoverished clients.
Three families who attend the center are followed, as we track these three young friends: Bing (Liam Diaz), a Filipino boy whose mom works at a nail salon to support him; Sylvie (Essence Fox), an Indigenous girl who lives her life out of trash bags because her family can’t find permanent housing; and Laura (Anna Claire Beitel), a little blonde just learning how to properly read and deal with her volatile addict father.
With a no-nonsense documentary-like focus on the coming-of-age children experiencing the pains of poverty, the viewer tunes into a refreshing inspirational human interest story on those marginalized young citizens needing help and getting it.
REVIEWED ON 11/4/2021 GRADE: B