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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

LIFE AND NOTHING MORE

Daily Except Sun, Nov 4: 1:00   3:45   7:00   9:30

Sun, Nov 4:  3:45   7:00   9:30

Through Tuesday, November 6

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ANTONIO MÉNDEZ ESPARZA

The understated masterpieces of the Italian neo-realists are clearly an inspiration for Spanish writer-director Antonio Méndez Esparza, whose LIFE AND NOTHING MORE dramatizes the lives of an African-American mother and her 14-year-old son. Using non-professional actors, from whom he elicits stunningly naturalistic performances, his movie will inevitably be compared with MOONLIGHT. Regina Williams gives a stellar performance as a woman who has no extra money, time, or emotional energy to deal with Andrew, the son she loves, but whose life is spiraling downward more quickly than she can clear the plates at the greasy-spoon at which she works. A pivotal scene in the film involves a low-key confrontation between Andrew and a white couple, and devolves into a life-changing experience in which race and class are at the heart of everything.

SPAIN / USA     2017     114 MINS.     CFI RELEASING

Reviews

“Critics’ Pick. A slow accumulation of closely observed moments… add up to something much more nuanced, a portrait of lives that can’t be reduced to statistics.”
– Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“A moving study of race, class, and familial bonds in America. Astute, quietly vigorous. The cast is nothing short of revelatory, a reminder that the delicacy of real-life detail and unscripted scenes can breathe a particular kind of intimacy, a sense of both naturalness and emotional breadth, into fictional cinema. Esparza’s vision of motherhood… pulls us into a soaring emotional tide, and keeps us entranced, marveling at Williams’s talent and charm. Exquisitely established atmosphere and mood.”
– Ela Bittencourt, Hyperallergic

“4 STARS (of 4) Performances are assured and richly nuanced. Williams’ portrayal… is a tour de force on every level. I found myself savoring every smile that flickered across Williams’ weary face. Editor Santiago Oviedo brilliantly links small yet crucial moments in order to provide a fully dimension portrait of Gina’s soul… in its poetic simplicity, the film’s deeply moving final shot suggests that our estrangement can be mended the moment we choose to lock eyes and listen to each other, allowing our voices to rise about the deafening cries of our presumptions.”
– Matt Fagerholm, rogerebert.com

“A rich drama. Raw, real, and strong.”
– David Ehrlich, Indiewire

“An involving, urgent and moving drama. A powerfully executed, richly human study of the challenges facing a black working class family. Compellingly directed and acted. An involving, quietly moving piece that eschews conventional narrative shape to offer a multi-layered depiction of exactly what the title promises. Terrifically acted by non-professionals. Cannily cast. It’s only at the very end that we realise what a sophisticated, structured narrative approach we’re seeing…”
– Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

“The timeliest, best-acted, and most moving of all the English-language movies I saw in Toronto. (The filmmaker) opts for a quieter, more observant naturalism… stroking the anger at its core without smugness or hyperbole. As perceptive but less schematic than MUDBOUND, and even more credibly lived-in than THE FLORIDA PROJECT. (A) masterwork.”
– Nick Davis, Film Comment

“Blessed with a heartbreaking performance by Regina Williams. If I try to imagine what a fiction film directed by the great documentarian Frederick Wiseman might look like, this low-budget gem comes pretty close.”
- Nick James, Sight & Sound