Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (10)
| Top Critics (8)
| Fresh (8)
| Rotten (2)
There's smooth-jazz polish to the emotions, even the unpleasant ones, in "I Will Follow."
I Will Follow, Ava DuVernay's triumphant feature debut, is a life-affirming portrait of a woman, Maye (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), juggling all kinds of loss.
This touching if insular drama about a woman grieving over the recent death of her aunt is well acted and incisively observed, although it's ultimately too low-key to have much dramatic impact.
Shows a certain amount of promise but often falls prey to easy emotional beats and an overall sentimentality when it should push for moments less obvious, more rare, true and insightful.
As a director, DuVernay handles her actors with care, though visually the picture sometimes betrays its shoestring budget.
In one way or another, every emotion in this wonderful independent film is one I've experienced myself. Grief, of course. But also anger, loneliness, confusion and a sense of lost direction.
Congrats to Salli Richardson-Whitfield for delivering a career performance, here, and to Ava DuVernay for shooting such a thought-provoking meditation on mortality in just a couple of weeks and on a micro budget.
If you want a movie with a flawless script, passionate actors, tears and laughs that result in inspiration, then this is a must-see. 'I Will Follow' is a full dose of humanity and makes me proud to be associated with the film industry.
Its elegantly simple structure filled in with startling, understated force, I Will Follow is a modestly framed portrait of grief in its first season.
The soulful, messy process of grief gets a soulful, messy treatment in Ava DuVernay's I Will Follow.
Following the death of her aunt Amanda(Beverly Todd), a famed studio musician, Maye(Salli Richardson-Whitfield, of "Eureka") is packing up all of her belongings from the house they shared for a year during her illness. However, a dispute with the moving company disrupts her plans, as she now has to rely on the help of friends and family. For the last part, Amanda's daughter Fran(Michole White) is more interested in preserving her mother's legacy than what is happening in the present day. When Fran goes out for lunch, she leaves behind her teenaged son Raven(Dijon Talton) who in return for his assistance learns a little more about music.
Even though I am not a big fan of digital handheld camerawork, "I Will Follow" is an emotionally complex and poignant film about what is left behind after a person dies, not only in the material sense, but in how they are remembered. In any case, it is always best to respect others' wishes no matter how much it might pain us. All of which plays out over a 24 hour time span that allows us to get an idea of not only what Amanda's life was all about, but also Maye's, too. That's not to mention the paean to studio musicians while serving up a surprising defense of disco.
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