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Posts Tagged ‘“Little Wood”’

Lily James, Tessa Thompson

“LITTLE WOODS” My rating: B-

105 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“Little Woods,” writer/director Nia DaCosta’s feature debut, unfolds in the barren wastes of North Dakota, where the dull landscape feels like a reflection of its inhabitant’s desperate lives.

Ollie (Tessa Thompson) is living in the house where her mother recently died. On probation after being caught crossing the Canadian border with a backpack full of oxy, she now scratches out a living selling coffee and sandwiches to oil drilling crews.  She also takes in laundry.

Her empathetic probation officer (Lance Reddick) is encouraging (“You’re so close…please stay out of trouble”) but Ollie finds herself being pulled back into the drug trade.

The problem is her adopted sister Deb (Lillie James), a former exotic dancer who lives in an RV with her son Johnny (Charlie Ray Reid).  Deb excels at making dumb choices.

Johnny’s dad, Ian (James Badge Dale), is a well-meaning loser who lives in a sparse motel room.  He can’t support his wife and son; even worse, he’s gotten Deb pregnant again.

Now the bank has come calling to repossess their late mother’s house. Ollie has a week to come up with a $3,000 payment and the only way to do that is to dig up the cache of drugs she buried in the woods and start selling.

The downbeat tale, enhanced immeasurably by Thompson’s thoughtful/heartfelt performance, finds Ollie sucked into yet another mission into Canada planned by her former drug-running boss (Joe Stevens).  She’s to pick up a load of drugs from a Canuck pharmacy and walk them through the woods back to the U.S.

She also brings along Deb and Johnny so that her sister can buy a forged medical card and get an abortion.

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