LUV - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

LUV Reviews

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January 1, 2017
All led to nothing, an inconsistent affair with minimal purpose...
May 28, 2016
Though I grew up in Pittsburgh - NFL arch-rival of Baltimore - I grew up learning Uncle Vincent's of my own. It is easy to understand how those outside of the African-American legacy of survival might be confused by the character flawlessly portrayed by Common, as well as his relationship with his nephew. If you have not grown up in this world, it may seem surreal. Yet for us who embrace our extended families in urban communities at odds with relentlessly indifferent urban renewal and global capitalistic powers and policies, the ubiquitous irony revealed in LUV is both palpable and all too familiar.

In LUV, August Wilson's themes of love, honor, duty, and betrayal run deep. If you didn't get it the first time, watch it again. Then incarnate yourself in the seedier side of your nearest urban center for a decade or so, and watch LUV once again. At that point, it will all make sense.
January 21, 2016
If you enjoy being depressed for no reason whatsoever, watch this movie.
½ September 1, 2015
Common was great as always!
April 21, 2015
Highly abrasive and the end left me open, but it kept me till the very end. Not many movie do that to me.
December 7, 2014
I'm going to cut straight to the chase on this one. This is just really bleak. And sad. Bleak and sad. Throw in some poignancy. But that's about it. Common is really impressive as the Uncle. It's a really complex and fascinating character. You could really see both sides. The side that his nephew, Woody, idolizes, and the part that landed him in jail. Michael Rainey Jr. is also really good as Woody. He's got a good career ahead of him if he keeps it up. But this is an interesting movie, although quite sad.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2014
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.
September 23, 2014
Decent easy to watch drama with gangster overtones. Some good tense scenes and fairly short length means it doesn't out stay his welcome.
June 23, 2014
godd tales from the hood
April 18, 2014
A young boy with no parents around to look after him spends a day with his ex criminal Uncle who is soon dragged back to his old ways.
½ March 28, 2014
Tortuous well-meaning story between two generations of the same family, but sadly it's not done too well.
February 23, 2014
Common's best film to date.
½ December 20, 2013
could've been written better. strange all those good actors didn't get any ideas
October 24, 2013
I feel like they were going for something with this movie I just don't know what it was
½ October 8, 2013
I watched it last night and today again. I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything. I thought the movie was made perfect. The writer was brilliant and I don't even know who he is. Those who use the words predictable. What was predictable about it? I was surprised at some points. You people want to stereotype subject is the first wrong perception. Let this writers dream come to life and last in film. I would like to see a part two. I want to see what path this child has chosen. Just like a parent who leaves there children in the car and forget about them, you never know what the outcome will be. You have the druggie, alcoholic, stressed out grandparent or mother, father etc. You can take that storyline and run with it. There are a lot of options.
September 20, 2013
Sons & Soldiers...

Before a boy becomes a man, he has to be a child. As a man, he is obligated to create a child and raise him, bestowing the knowledge he's gained since childhood upon him. To the extent that there are good and bad men, one could argue that they have correlation with good and bad fathering. Bad (also absent or incompetent) men are often not equipped to properly raise a child; they teach their children how to be lesser men and raise significantly damaged sons. In Sheldon Candis' film "LUV," we see the dangers of bad fathering, and the implications it could have on future generations.

Though "LUV" sports a predominantly African-American cast, it has a universal message that everyone can adhere to. It asks what it takes to be a man, raise a man, and protect him from the pratfalls and dangers of a society run on corruption. The father figure in the film is played by the rapper/actor Common, who is the makeshift father and uncle of a boy whose mother is in rehab. The boy is raised by his Uncle, who is freshly out of prison, and his loving grandmother who can barely afford to take care of him. The boy misses his mother and isn't told the truth about her affliction or location. He dreams about her frequently and we quickly come to realize that the boy is lost in his sense of self. He is also brave, smart, and headstrong, but lonely and highly impressionable.

One morning, instead of being dropped off at school, his Uncle decides to give the boy a crash course in becoming a man. The boy is scolded by him immediately as he chickens out of talking to a school crush who is waving to him from afar. Here, we get our first hint that the Uncle is not only a lackluster parental figure, but a mean and forceful man. The Uncle then takes the boy to a bank where he is taught how to act like a man in front of other men-you know: dress in a suit, look'em in the eye, walk with a purpose, and don't kick your feet when you're sitting in a chair. The Uncle again shows an ulterior motive when we find out that he is at the bank only to get a loan approved. He is looking to start a new life as an owner of a crab n' claw restaurant and bar. He does not get his loan approved and blames takes his frustration out on the boy. He promises the bank to resolves his debts by the next morning, which means grabbing $22,000 dollars in cash by the weekend. The Uncle enlists the help of his brothers and a local slum lord who can help him come up with the quick money. There is one condition however; the Uncle has to push narcotics in a tumultuous Baltimore ghetto.
With a plot that is ripped straight from "Training Day," the Uncle decides to use his nephew for his own selfish vices, even if it means getting the boy into a mess of trouble that may cost him his life. He proceeds to teach his nephew how to drive, shoot a pistol, and act "hard" at all times. When the two are faced with the presence of death on four occasions, we see that the boy is still a child no matter what he has learned or how far he's matured; the Uncle, however, can't understand why his nephew can't become a man at a snap of his finger-I mean he's twelve isn't he?

Throughout the film, we witness other children who are being groomed into becoming child soldiers. We also find out that the Uncle was one himself, and that in many impoverished areas throughout America there is a never ending cycle of bad men teaching their children the wrong things. As those children grow up, they too are in danger of teaching their kids the wrong things. The Uncle knows how to be a man or at least act like one, but he doesn't realize how tainted his experiences have been through his life. When he teaches his nephew how to be a man, he does not realize that his nephew must first be a child and grow over time to become a man. If you raise him too quickly while he's learning the wrong things, there is no way he can grow to be a proper man. By this film's conclusion, we hope the child has learned that, however, his fate ultimately becomes open to interpretation.

"LUV" does an excellent job at bringing challenging philosophical issues to the forefront and tells a convincing story despite its many moments of implausibility. Rapper/actor Common proves yet again that he is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood with yet another solid performance. There is a great cast here too with a lot of familiar faces (Danny Glover, Megan Goode, and Dennis Haysbert) who all provide solid performances. The film runs into a few problems with an occasionally muddled plot and some scenes that are too self-conscious with style and flair. However, the film proves to be one of the great achievements of black-cinema: one that sets standards while others lower the bar.

Grade: B-
September 16, 2013
Finally! a leading role for Common! Ive been a huge fan for so long, but always complained how he got these small throwaway roles, but not here, hes front and center and in practically every scene, and im glad to say hes up to the task, i hope this is the first of many such roles, also equal praise goes to the little kid, hes great here, never annoying, not dumb, i wish all little kids acted like that, the rest of the cast is just a whos who of good black actors, haysbery, dutton, glover, and all are solid, also cool to see them shoot as much in a city, i love real locations in movies, and people in baltimore got to love how they use it, good stuff
August 28, 2013
There was a beginning, a middle and then sum fuzz. Moral of the story: old habits don't die, they just are reincarnated into his nephew.
½ August 17, 2013
Poorly written incompetently directed but decently acted. Michael Rainey Jr. Gives an amazing performance especially considering how thin his character is written. For starters, I'm a huge Common fan and I do believe he is a decent actor. But the character written for him makes absolutely no sense. The film starts off with him fresh out of jail offering to take his nephew to school as he's dropping off his nephew he decides then and there that he's going to teach this little boy to be man. The film gave off the early impressions of a social commentary showing the older black generation misguiding the younger. The film then quickly changes from a social commentary to knockoff 2 hour episode of the wire.
July 26, 2013
A story about a young man learning how to 'be a man' via a recently inprisoned uncle. The movie doesn't make Baltimore out to be a family vaca spot - but the young actor steals the movie from Common and several other talented actors. Overall, it's a good time filler but the movie won't stay with you for very long.
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