Aristotle Torres’ “Story Ave” provides a soulful depiction of the Bronx and career-best performances for Luis Guzman and Asante Blackk.

Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.

“Story Ave” General Information

Director(s) Aristotle Torres
Screenplay By Aristotle Torres and Bonsu Thompson
Based On “Story Ave” short film by Aristotle Torres
Date Released (Film Festival -New York Latino Film Festival) September 19, 2023
Genre(s) Drama
Film Length 1 Hour, 40  Minutes
Content Rating Not Rated
Noted Characters and Cast
Kadir Grayson Asante Blackk
Luis Torres Luis Guzmán
Skemes Melvin Gregg
Gloria Coral Peña

Content Rating Explanation

“Story Ave” is not yet rated but may receive an R Rating due to teen drug use, violence, and profanity throughout.

Film Summary

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Filmmaker Aristotle Torres’ “Story Ave” is a coming-of-age story for kids who rarely have a voice or face in movies. “Story Ave” shines a light on people who have slipped through the cracks of their city. The movie is a love letter to the Bronx without romanticizing any aspect of it. It’s a tale about fighting inner demons while acknowledging that each day is a new round. “Story Ave” embraces the messiness of life and humans just trying to get by, and because of this, “Story Ave” provides one of the most realistic portrayals of people this year.

“Story Ave” follows a teen named Kadir (Asante Blackk) as he suffers the loss of his little brother and tries to find himself and a place to belong in this world. He feels abandoned by his grieving mom (Cassandra Freeman) and uninterested in his senior year of school, and the guilt about his brother’s death is becoming unbearable. The only comfort Kadir seems to find is in his art and tagging up walls with a street gang led by Skemes (Melvin Gregg).

While this gang gives Kadir a place to escape and belong, Skemes has more devious plans for Kadir to prove his loyalty to the gang. In order to become a member, Kadir must rob someone at gunpoint. Kadir initially protests, but takes the gun Skemes offers and tries to find a target. He settles on a lonely man he sees on the subway. When Kadir confronts this man, the man remains calm and unexpectedly offers Kadir his coat and a hot meal. Having nowhere else to go, Kadir reluctantly accepts.

Kadir learns this kind man is named Luis (played by Luiz Guzmán), an MTA worker whose wife died of cancer. Luis doesn’t talk down to Kadir or try to tell Kadir what to do. For the first time, Kadir sees an adult he can trust.

With Luis’ support and kindness, Kadir begins to see another path forward in his life. A school counselor starts to help Kadir look at colleges, and he starts to connect with another artist, Gloria (Coral Peña). But after a gang confrontation sends Kadir’s best friend (Alex R. Hibbert) to the hospital, Kadir must choose between Skemes’ gang or a life outside of the Bronx. On the precipice of change and with each relationship in his life on the verge of falling apart, Kadir must confront his future and how he sees himself.

“Story Ave” is a gut-wrenching drama that’s also sprinkled with warm belly laughs throughout its runtime. The movie’s heart is so grounded in the streets of its world that you can hear it beating within every frame. The movie ends on a somewhat rushed and intentionally ambiguous note, but what matters is the journey. Luis Guzman, Asante Blackk, Aristotle Torres, and the rest of the cast and crew take us on an emotionally raw journey rarely seen in theaters today.

Story Ave 1 scaled

Other Noteworthy Information

  1. Luis Guzmán noted that he would be content with ending his acting career after making this movie.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Kadir Grayson

Kadir is an artistic and perceptive soul, struggling with grief, haunted by guilt, and frustrated by feeling trapped in the Bronx with no future. Kadir is quick to anger and to cry, often experiencing both at the same time. Kadir may search for guidance, but he’s constantly being told the choice is his to make.

Luis Torres

Luis is an older MTA worker who lives alone after the death of his wife. Luis is the one adult who is kind and patient with Kadir; he gives the child a chance when no one else does. Despite Luis opening his heart to Kadir, Luis keeps his own secrets about his past and his health.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Boogie Nights,” their role in “Traffic,” and their role in “Wednesday.”


Story Ave 3
Melvin Gregg stars as Skemes in “Story Ave” (directed by Aristotle Torres, 2023)

Like Kadir, Skemes was once a bright artistic talent with so much potential. Now, Skemes is the leader of a small gang and influences teens to join and make graffiti with him. Skemes sees Kadir’s potential and wants to exploit it by any means.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “The Blackening,” their role in “High Flying Bird,” and their role in “Nine Perfect Strangers.”


Gloria is first introduced as a server at the Cuban restaurant, but Kadir soon learns that Gloria is an artist too and takes photographs all over the Bronx. Because Gloria goes to an art school, Kadir sees her life as a potential path for himself too.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “For All Mankind,” their role in “The Post,” and their role in “24: Legacy.”


Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing) 

Notable Performances or Moments

Luis as Luis Gives a Somber, Inspiring, Career-Best Performance

Luis Guzmán has been a recognizable face as a character actor for the past 40 years. He’s a scene stealer in comedies and a seal of authenticity in any New York-set movie. “Story Ave” gives Luis Guzmán a chance to warm viewers’ hearts as a mentor figure, and Guzmán embodies the role with grace and unflinching vulnerability. You feel as if you’re seeing him for the first time.


The Chemistry Between the Two Leads

“Story Ave” may intrigue viewers with its still of Asante Blackk’s Kadir holding up a gun at Luis Guzmán’s Luis, but that scene is just the first encounter of many tense and riveting exchanges between the two men. The connection between these two strangers is always natural, intriguing, and provides “Story Ave” to paint our faces with laughter and tears.

Story Ave 4

A Naturalistic Depiction of The Bronx 

The Bronx is a rarely depicted borough of New York, yet “Story Ave” sets the movie exclusively in this tough and persevering pocket of New York and demonstrates the people are even more resilient. From Yankees games to Cubanos to the wide canvases of buildings, director Aristotle Torres and cinematographer Eric Branco present a world of danger and love around every corner.

On The Fence

Characters Blatantly Spill the Beans in the Third Act

After watching Kadir boil for the last ninety minutes in “Story Ave,” we wait for his emotions to explode. The jarring part is that characters blatantly share what they think of one another in such articulate anger that the script starts to show on the screen. We know Luis sees Kadir as his own son, and we know Skemes is threatened by Kadir. For a movie that does such a great job of feeling honest, these last-act monologues feel like cheat codes for audiences to process emotions and the drama.

Who Is This For?

People interested in coming-of-age dramas, films that take place in New York, or people wanting to see Luis Guzman get the screen time he deserves should watch “Story Ave.”


If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Moonlight
  2. The Blackening
  3. Landscape with Invisible Hand

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations. .


Answers to some questions you may have regarding this movie:

The Reason The Movie Is Named “Story Ave”

The most pivotal scene and life-changing moment for Kadir happens at the Story Avenue subway stop.

Does “Story Ave” Have A Mid-Credit or End Credit Scene?

No, “Story Ave” ends with scenes of New York passing by and the credits rolling.

Story Ave 2 scaled
Story Ave (2023) – Review and Summary
In "Story Ave," Luis Guzman, Asante Blackk, Aristotle Torres, and the rest of the cast and crew take us on an emotionally raw journey rarely seen in theaters today. 
The Chemistry Between the Two Leads
A Naturalistic Depiction of The Bronx 
Characters Blatantly Spill the Beans in the Third Act

Listed Under Categories: ,

Follow, Like and Subscribe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.