User ReviewsReview this title
Luv follows a young boy who spends the day with his recently paroled uncle who is trying to right his life, but along the way hits some violent unexpected snags. Now the young boy must follow in his uncle's footsteps of learn to be his own man. On the surface this film seemed like it was going to be just another forgettable drama with little to offer, but as it progressed it became so much more. While it could be viewed as just another drama about the seedy underworld, it is really about two people and their struggle to change their lives while finding their way alone, all while having each other. This film takes place over one day and delivers a really powerful message for both sides of the spectrum. One you have this young boy trying to grow to become a man, but are torn between the problems in his life and wanting to learn the things his uncle has to teach him. Then you have the uncle who is legitimately trying to clean up his act and teach his nephew how to be a man, but is pulled back into his old life as his past catches up to him. This cast is great and it is amazing to see this many great actors in an independent film. They all really poured themselves into their roles to bring these characters to life. Common has really grown as an actor and carries this movie like a pro. The rest of the cast mesh together nicely to deliver this powerful story.
There are some moments here that make you wonder why this kid is being dragged into all these situations, but as everything unfolds you realize it is part of what makes him grow as a man, whether they are good or bad. This was one of those movies that really delivered a surprising finished product to something that didn't offer a huge appeal other than the cast. It's these kinds of movies that remind you how to love film. It's not one of the best around, but there is passion and depth to this film filled with a cast that clearly did this for the love of the project and it shows in the finished product.
Taken as a whole, "LUV" is considerably less than the sum of its parts. The screenplay by Candis feels strangely doughy and underdeveloped, often leaving us bewildered as to what exactly Vincent is up to and who it is he's interacting with at any given moment. That being said, "LUV" manages to hold our interest due to the immediacy of its style and the naturalism of its performances. Common makes us care about Vincent; we see him as an ambitious young man who, despite his natural inclination towards crime - an inclination obviously resulting from the difficult circumstances in which he was raised - appears to be genuinely trying to turn his life around. That the world and his past seem to be conspiring against him is what makes the tale so poignant. Vincent may not be the perfect role model for his young nephew, but he is probably the best the boy is going to have for the foreseeable future.
But it is young Michael Rainey, Jr., in a star-making performance as Woody, who walks off with the film. Even at the tender young age of eleven, Rainey is already a natural in front of the camera and it is his wholly believable reactions to what is taking place around him that strike a responsive chord in the viewer. Indeed, we are willing to go on this structurally awkward and artistically uneven journey simply for the privilege of reveling in his performance. Rainey, in essence, becomes the thread holding all these seemingly random and arbitrary events together. One looks forward to great things from him in the future.
The story-line was engaging and paced just right. The casting was sublime and the actors were excellent, completely immersed in their various roles, and the moral of the story--that in the complexities of the social ills our society has imposed upon us, and particularly on black males, there are still jewels of goodness, and valid learning opportunities that help us grow, that can still grow young boys into good men. That good black men can emerge who choose right paths, despite the fact that segregation in the North and South path-dependently constrained opportunities for their male predecessors, and that family is our bond.
What a brilliant movie. Much better than those complex Woody Allen movies about much less substantive issues that get lauded with awards and good reviews.
Don't believe the biased, negative reviews. This is one of the best movies you will ever see. I promise.
Common is a powerhouse in the film, he's so commanding - not easy to do when acting opposite Dennis Haysbert (Mr. President/Snake Doctor himself).
and the boy, oh this little boy, Mr. Michael Rainey Jr. I doubt we will see the last of this amazing young thespian.
i highly recommend this film for a bitter taste of growing up in B-more. and of course we get to see cameo appearances by the great Charles S. Dutton - a strong advocate for Baltimore filming - as well as Danny Glover.
It's basically about a former big time drug dealer, Vincent (played by Common), who gets out of prison after 8 years in a 20 year term - people have there suspicions, and it's been 8 years since he's been out there. During his time in prison, he planned the rest of his life out, he wanted to open up a restaurant and everything... live a life "not of crime". Only problem is he has another loan (or something) not paid off and he has to come up with 22 grand within a few days to get a new loan worth 150 grand to buy the land for his restaurant... But a lot of people on the streets wants him dead.
One day Vincent is driving Woody to school, they at the school and this girl who Woody likes is staring at him, but Woody is too shy to even get out the car and talk - he's embarrassed. So after a bit of sitting, Vince decides to take Woody out of school for the day, Woody is going to work with Vince... And throughout the next two days a lot happens.
I'm not to good at giving summaries that don't spoil the movie, but bare with me. The movie is great if you like sad movies. This movie does not have a happy ending and a lot of things mentioned in the movie are up for your "imagination" you could say... it's a cliff hanger ending.