Further proof that there are many reasons to invest in young actors of color.
Trigger Warning(s): Scenes of Drug Use & Violence against children
Review (with Spoilers)
2013 contained a huge amount of films focusing on Black characters and the amount of diversity was quite good. But, naturally, some fell through the cracks. The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, unfortunately, was one of those films which unless you lived near a major metropolitan area, likely the movie came and went without you knowing. This is despite Jennifer Hudson in the film, with other recognizable names such as Anthony Mackie, Jordin Sparks, and Jeffrey Wright.
Characters & Story
Mister (played by Skylan Brooks) is a Brooklyn native with dreams of going to Beverly Hills and becoming an actor. But, with a drug addicted mom named Gloria (played by Jennifer Hudson) and a tag along named Pete (played by Ethan Dizon) things are stacked against him. But, upon his mom getting arrested, things go from bad to worse as he tries to fend for himself, and Pete, so they don’t end up at the local group home which has a horrible reputation.
For once, I must say Jennifer Hudson did remind me why she has an Oscar. Her playing a crack addict/ prostitute, was believable and not as overdone as some of the other roles she has done in the past. But, while Hudson shows improvement, both Brooks and Dizon continue to prove that not all young talent in Hollywood have white skin. And the only reason I bring up their skin tone up is because, it seems like there is a real lack of investment in young people of color, and while I doubt this film will launch either young mans’ career, their performances do justify continued work.
Brooks makes Mister into this raw character a little too exposed to his mother’s lifestyle and you can see he has already begun the process of a hardened heart due to this environment. As for Dizon as Pete, he represents the innocence and naivety that Mister likely once had, and together they show how a child is before the exposure of an urban environment tears them down, and then their struggle in trying to survive before they give into the environment they grew up in.
As for criticism, honestly, there aren’t any major issues with the film. I mean, I found Jordin Sparks’ role as Alice sort of strange, if only because we aren’t properly informed how she moved out of the projects, unless it was because of her love interest; and also I, again, wasn’t sure what Wright’s role as Henry was supposed to be, unless he was to further develop the environment by playing a homeless veteran. But, as you can see, there isn’t anything majorly wrong, just little things to pick over.
Overall: TV Viewing
As a whole, honestly, while I liked this film, I can’t say it is worth seeing immediately. Though it is a good film, and definitely something which would make a good foundation for Brooks and Dizon’s career, it just doesn’t create an emotional impact. For while Hudson does better, she is nowhere near Mo’Nique’s level in Precious; and while Brooks and Dizon will create sympathy within you, there is something in their performances, or perhaps the story, which makes it so you can get a full on connection. What I mean is, watching the film is sometimes like watching those commercials for starving African children. Yes, you feel bad for the kids, but once the commercial is over that feeling dissipates and you begin to forget all about them. And to me, all involved may have been good, but if you stack them up with other films with similar stories/ themes, they are unfortunately forgettable.