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Rated NR · 106 minutes · 2006

Comedy, Drama, Family
Writer-director Paul Morrison's film follows a well-worn problem-drama path: A lively Jamaican family moves into a resentful white working-class neighborhood in 1960s Britain, offering friendship and a glimpse of a happier, less buttoned-down life to the staid folks next door. But if the movie traces a predictable arc from racial unease to acceptance, it's often winning -- and sometimes tough-minded -- in the details. Cricket provides the bond between David (Sam Smith), the 11-year-old son of European Jews in a blue-collar South London neighborhood, and his new neighbor Dennis (Delroy Lindo in a wonderful performance), a relocated Kingston foundry worker. As the neighborhood's bigoted busybodies and proto-skinhead hoods take notice of their friendship, the boy's neglected mother (Emily Woof) falls for the affectionate man next door. With Nina Kellgren's cinematography providing a glow-of-memory sheen, the movie has an oddly rosy, almost fairy-tale feel -- which has the unfortunate side effect of making the neighborhood's simmering racism seem like something that happened very long ago, distantly remembered. But even if it vacillates awkwardly between innocuous fancy and real menace, the sensitively acted film also maintains a rather nervy balance between a light coming-of-age drama for children and a darker, more adult story of deferred passions.
Director: Paul Morrison
Writer: Paul Morrison
Producer: Jonny Persey
Cast: Sam Smith, Leagh Conwell, Dominic Barklem, Jo Stone-Fewings, Emily Woof, Yasmin Paige, Richard Ashton, Carol MacReady, Stanley Townsend and Osnat Schmool

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Wondrous Oblivion

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