The plot for Little Woods is pretty simple, its about Ollie (Tessa Thompson) and her sister Deb (Liliy James) and the struggles they're facing. A story like this would sometimes be about them trying to hit it big as struggling artists or it would be about the family trying to reconcile. That's not this movie, this movie isn't about some trivial issues, its about them trying to survive. They aren't just lower middle class, they're at the bottom and they're respective problems (looking for work when you have a record, unwanted pregnancy, nowhere to live etc.) reflect that. I think Little Woods does a great job of showing you those problems without sugarcoating them or trying to add fantasy, they're real, they're horrible and above all else, they're terrifying. You feel for these characters, they may have made bad choices but neither is a terrible person or even deserving of what fate has burdened them with. I was filled with dread as I watched this movie but I didn't feel like there were any false notes or anything that defied plausibility. That's definitely what the movie intended and it definitely got me to that point.
I also thought the movie was very real in how they portrayed the dynamic between Deb and Ollie. Their relationship is complicated, Ollie is trying to be the responsible older sister but she definitely is resentful for having to carry Deb. Deb feels like a failure but is also resentful of both her bad choices and her sister for holding them over her head. They love each other but there's built up baggage and it digs away at them. But their bond is also strong enough to try to overcome for their mutual betterment (even if Deb is secretly wishing Ollie wasn't leaving). It was believable and it brought me in.
What makes this movie really involving though is the performances by Tessa Thompson and Lily James. I was a little worried about Thompson after Men In Black: International but this is special work she does here. She really gets into this part, she's grounded and she helps turn Ollie into someone you want to root for. She's a complicated character and you understand her point of view through Thompson's performance. James is just as good as Deb, she's emotional and vulnerable and you can't help but feel for her. James is a huge talent and she's always good in anything she shows up in. I also liked Lance Reddick and James Badge Dale in their respective supporting roles.
On a final note, although we don't get a definitive answer on how things are going to end up for Ollie and Deb, I liked the direction they went with the ending. If you've ever had serious money problems or lived in a position where life changing events are happening on a day to day basis, the result doesn't always end up in the win or the loss column. We don't get a happy ending here but we also don't get the worst result. Life moves on whether you're ready for it or not and even when you're going through truly awful things, the sun is still going to come up the next day. Little Woods finishes with that kind of resignation and I think there was an honest quality to it. I normally hate ambiguous endings where the movie makes you decide what's going to happen but I think it fits here.
Little Woods is an unflinching look at problems that many people don't want to face. This is an excellent movie that I would have no problem recommending but it also falls into the category of great movies that I have no desire to see again (for example the 2017 movie Detroit is another movie that falls into that category). Its extremely well acted, well written and bleak as all h#!! The only thing that I can say that I would have liked is a little more style, the movie is almost shot like a documentary. I can respect that decision but some artistic flourish might have pushed the grade up a little higher yet. I'd give Little Woods an 8.5/10 which I'll bump up to a 9. It got a fairly limited release so I don't know how easy it would be to see, but I'd wholeheartedly recommend this if you get a chance to Little Woods. Just prepare yourself, it won't be fun to watch.
Crime / Drama / Western
Crime / Drama / Western
A modern Western that tells the story of two sisters, Ollie and Deb, who are driven to work outside the law to better their lives. For years, Ollie has illicitly helped the struggling residents of her North Dakota oil boomtown access Canadian health care and medication. When the authorities catch on, she plans to abandon her crusade, only to be dragged in even deeper after a desperate plea for help from her sister.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 26, 2021 at 09:51 PM