LUV (2012 dir Sheldon Candis)

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Sandra’s Verdict

I saw LUV when The Sundance Film Festival came to London in April, partly because the film I really wanted to see was sold out and because it was starring Common; having been disappointed with his wooden performance along side Queen Latifah in 2010’s Just Wright I thought it was about time that I gave him a second chance!

According to the director, Sheldon Candis, LUV is a fable about a young boy’s admiration of his uncle, it partly deals with what Woody (Michael Rainy Jnr), the young boy, wants to see in the world rather than what is really there. As we follow Woody and his uncle Vincent (Common), who has recently come out of prison, around Baltimore for twenty-four hours it becomes clear that behind Vincent’s sharp suit and swanky car lies a desperate and tainted man.

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There are some excellent African American actors in this film, Danny Glover and Dennis Haysbert make appearances as Vincent’s former gangland associates and Common is impressive too, but the real stand out performance comes from Rainy, who is utterly absorbing as 11 year old Woody.

The film is semi-biographical in that Candis’s own uncle was a notorious Baltimore drug dealer who used to drive around with a young Candis in the passenger seat to avoid being stopped by the police during drug errands. Originally called Learning Uncle Vincent, Candis decided to shorten the title to an acronym, I asked him about this after the screening and you can watch his response below.

I would definitely recommend this film, not only does it feature some excellent acting and superb cinematography but it also deals with a complicated subject which is often magnified in cinema and on television in a manner that is both original and delicate without compromising on its impact.

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