Review: My Brother
Seeing a ghetto-based drama revolving around Black males
not behaving either like amoral gangstas or clownish buffoons is a welcome change of pace.
When L’Tisha Morton (Vanessa Williams) discovers that she’s dying
of tuberculosis, her first concern is for the welfare of her sons, ages 8
The single-mom desperately wants them both to be adopted by the same
family, because James (Christopher Scott), the younger one, is mentally-
But when that doesn’t happen, rather than allowing the two to be separated,
she entrusts the elder, Isaiah (Nashawn Kearse), with the responsibility of
raising his sibling who is afflicted with Down Syndrome.
Not surprisingly, trying to survive on their own in New York City proves to
be quite a challenge, and that endeavor is the essence of what “My
Brother” has to offer. Along the way, Isaiah is understandably distracted
periodically, whether by the possibility of making easy money via street
crime or by the womanly wiles of a seductive Sugar Mama (Tatum O’Neal) with
Jungle Fever. So, the question is whether he will remain resolute in
resisting temptation and opt to behave responsibly.
The picture was written and directed by Anthony Lover who must be
credited for making the first film ever to feature an African-American with
a developmental disability in lead roles, Donovan Jennings (James at the age
of 8) and Christopher Scott (James as an adult). The historic aspect of the
production aside, there are a couple of other reasons to recommend My
First, seeing a ghetto-based drama revolving around Black males
not behaving either like amoral gangstas or clownish buffoons is a welcome
change of pace. Secondly, the script was placed in the hands of a talented
cast, most notably, Vanessa Williams, who exhibits an emotional range unseen
in any of her previous work.
A moving and meaningful melodrama about a blood bond tested by the
trials and tribulations of trying to survive in the inner city.
Excellent (3.5 stars). Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, and disturbing images.
Running time: 90 minutes. Studio: Codeblack Entertainment/Visual Entertainment
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