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   Movie Reviews: Luv
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Studio:
     Indomina Media  (94 min)
Plot:
    An 11-year-old boy gets a crash course in what it means to be a man when he spends a day with the ex-convict uncle he idolizes.
Cast:
     Common, Michael Rainey Jr., Lonette McKee, Sammi Rotibi, Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Michael K. Williams and Russell Hornsby
Rating:
     R
Bottom Line:
     ***

Coverage:
by
Samantha Ofole-Prince

Based on the filmmaker’s own formative years as he emerged from childhood “Luv” is tough and unflinching.

The main protagonist is 11-year-old Woody (played by the terrific Michael Rainey Jr.), an inquisitive, sharp witted kid, who lives with his grandmother (Lonette McKee) in suburban Baltimore. With his mother in rehab and his father out of the picture, Woody lacks a male role model. When his charismatic uncle Vincent (Common) shows up after eight years in prison, Woody’s yearning for male attention and guidance takes a dangerous detour.

The events unfold when Vincent decides to show Woody what he believes are the ways of the world. Instead of dropping the boy off at school, he impulsively decides to teach his nephew what it means to “be a man.” He has Woody kitted with a suit and takes him around the city as he attempts to secure a loan for a business plan. There are unsettled scores in the neighborhood and not everyone is thrilled to see Vincent out of prison. When things don’t go as planned, the two become haunted men.

This grim and realistic film directed by Sheldon Candis carries a tangible sense of fear and hopelessness but also beautifully illustrates how courage can combat adversity.
“Woody’s uncle Vincent is a convicted felon with a violent past, and for all his ambition and energy, very few real prospects for advancement,” says Candis. “He is also the only role model Woody has for manhood.’”

Rainey heads a drama that’s so persuasive and absorbing. A natural talent, he inhabits his character with an ease rare to find in actors many times his age and experience.

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