The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (15)
| Top Critics (3)
| Fresh (14)
| Rotten (1)
Village Rockstars is confident and sincere, its story unfolding at a languid but controlled pace.
All the kids are natural actors, but Bhanita Das is a standout in every scene. As the work-worn mother, Basanti Das embodies the refreshing lack of sentimentality that gives the film its modern attitude.
Pluckily optimistic and unsentimental to a fault, writer-director Rima Das' second film is a tonic to third world poverty porn.
While Rima Das intended the film to be a tribute to her village, her sensitivity and warmth guarantees that it also captures the innocence of childhood - and the doting bond between mothers and daughters.
Kids pass the time climbing trees or sinking into the marsh, Das's camera capturing them as lively extensions of nature.
Das' warm direction conveys a palpable affection for these people. But the thin plot keeps the audience at a distance.
More than Terrence Malick and the existential poetry of his films, Village Rockstars' closest cinematic cousins are Benh Zeitlin's 2012 fable about climate change, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Sean Baker's 2017 masterpiece, The Florida Project.
The most appealing is the persistence and simplicity with which Das subverts gendered expectations and norms.
The atmosphere of Village Rockstars is so real that it almost feels like a documentary. Rim Das' direction is the opposite of fussy, allowing the characters and their actions to breathe on screen in a way that speaks to her affection for the subject.
The sense of spontaneity in this film will make it particularly appealing to young viewers, and it features the most delightful relationship between a child and a domestic animal since 2015's Lamb.
Village Rockstars is heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.
How beautifully told it is, with not a shred of artifice. There is solid craft at work, but at no point calls attention to itself.
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