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All Critics (39)
| Top Critics (18)
| Fresh (14)
| Rotten (25)
Director-co-writer Sheldon Candis stretches a lot of the time, a romantic story seems to have been cut drastically, and the film's climax is far too typical.
Even the boarded-up row houses look romantic.
A sometimes taut and occasionally preposterous day in the life of an 11-year-old accompanying his uncle on business in Baltimore.
What begins as a promising peek into the tragic cycle of waylaid promise that's crippling broken inner-city families is itself dispiritingly pulled sideways in the Baltimore-set indie "LUV."
Both for good and for ill, "LUV" has a film-school feeling about it, and channels a legacy of fatalistic American crime cinema that includes "Mean Streets" and "Treasure of the Sierra Madre."
Saved from its predictable plotline by a strong cast and a central relationship written and performed with sensitivity, LUV reveals the stakes of trusting in a role model and the costs when that person turns out to be human.
Charismatic actors can only do so much with lackluster writing and poor plotting.
When Rainey Jr. and Common get into their screaming matches, it's powerful stuff.
The finale is too melodramatic to be powerful.
Common more than pulls off the tough task in a revelatory, award-worthy turn.
if interpreted as "a fable" you may be able to shrug it off.
Candis demonstrates a practiced hand in his direction, keeping the pace brisk and the tension taut. But there's no getting around the meandering and highly formulaic script.
Fresh out of jail, Vincent(Common) visits his nephew Woody(Michael Rainey Jr.) who is staying with his grandmother(Lonette McKee). That is followed by Vincent driving his nephew to school. Except he takes him to a tailor instead. That is to make a good impression when Victor goes to the bank to get a loan for his proposed restaurant. And then is stunned when he learns that his collateral is about to be foreclosed, requiring about $25,000 by Monday. That leads Vincent to reconnect with Arthur(Danny Glover), followed by a meeting with Mr. Fish(Dennis Haysbert).
With its exemplary cast that also includes Charles S. Dutton, Michael Kenneth Williams and Russell Hornsby, "Luv" takes the old story of an ex-con trying to go straight and turns it partially on its head. Whereas some cultural commentators complain about the absence of African American men from their children's lives(usually said comments come from outside the community), the movie takes a different angle by saying how in some cases it might not be such a bad idea if the man of the house is not present, considering how toxic his presence might possibly be. And Vincent may think he is doing good by Woody, but his actions speak otherwise. However, in the end, the wildly improbable ending undoes a lot of the realities of what came before in its lyrical pretentiousness.
Follow your hero. Or become your own man.
Good Film! The film does a formidable job in demonstrating that no matter what you do or how much you may want to change, the past always has a way of catching up with you. The star power in this film immediately captured my attention. Scene upon scene brought a new recognizable well established actor on screen, which is so atypical when viewing Indie films. The film LUV is a fictionalized account of actual events that occurred in the writer director Sheldon Candis' life as he spent time with his uncle. There are some moments here that make you wonder why this kid is being dragged into all these situations, but as everything unfolds you realize it is part of what makes him grow as a man, whether they are good or bad. This was one of those movies that really delivered a surprising finished product to something that didn't offer a huge appeal other than the cast. It's these kinds of movies that remind you how to love film. It's not one of the best around, but there is passion and depth to this film filled with a cast that clearly did this for the love of the project and it shows in the finished product. Go see it!
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.
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