The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete
Directed by George Tillman, Jr.
Coming of age story about two inner city youths, who are left to fend for themselves over the summer after their mothers are taken away by the authorities.
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★★★★ review by justinC on Letterboxd
A coming of age story of two inner city kids who are abandoned by mothers due to drug addictions.
"Mister" played by Skylan Brooks gives one hell of a performance and was the film, his buddy Pete [Ethan Dizon] quietly did a really admirable job aswell.
After they are abandoned the boys are left to survive at all cost.
While Mister has acting dreams he wants to get to Beverly hills, just barely surviving while staying clear of the authorities is a struggle.
Mister taking on the big bother role to Pete was touching and gives the film alot more meaning.
The film is heartbreaking to say the least while the director always tends to keep you from getting to into your feelings with some upbeat moments that are nice.
i would recommend this to anyone just for the performance of Skylan Brooks alone.
I cried a few minutes after the film was over.
★★★½ review by TajLV on Letterboxd
"Nobody's gonna help us. They never have. They never will." ~ Gloria
Growing up in the Brooklyn projects is tough enough, but being abandoned in an empty apartment without money or a regular source of food is about as close to hell on Earth as a kid can get. Yet that's exactly the situation faced by 13-year-old Miske 'Mister' Winfield (Skylan Brooks) and his nine-year-old Korean-American companion Pete (Ethan Dizon) when their single moms are arrested and they have to evade being caught by child protective services.
Director George Tillman Jr.'s second feature brings us Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as Mister's mother Gloria. She lives in the Brooklyn Park Houses, as does Pete's mother (Martha Millan). Both women are junkie prostitutes working for a pimp named Kris (Anthony Mackie). When one of Kris's dealers called Curtis (Rob Morgan) gets busted, he gives the police names and soon the two hookers are picked up, too. That leaves Mister and Pete to face the prospect of being sent to Riverview, "the worst group home in the world."
They hide at Mister's as long as they can, but when food runs out, they take to begging and theft. Mister figures his mother will be free in a couple of weeks, but after three weeks, he calls the police station and learns she was released a week earlier. She's abandoned him. What's more, Sergeant Pike (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) starts coming around looking for the boy. And in time, the electricity is cut off and Pete develops stomach pain.
Mister has only one hope. There's an audition in New York for child actors on August 7th. Whoever is selected will appear in a TV show that's being filmed in Beverly Hills. In fact, he's pinning all his hopes on it ... if he can avoid Pike and survive in the projects that long.
Other characters here include: Mister's 8th-grade teacher Mr. Carey (Joseph Adams); a woman named Alice (Jordin Sparks), who used to live in the projects but became the mistress of a married white dude (Adam Trese); Dartavius Stallsworth (Julito McCullum), a local thief that Mister calls Dip Stick; the bodega owner (Kenneth Maharaj) who has banned Mister from his store; and a homeless panhandler named Henry (Jeffrey Wright).
As the title implies, this isn't an uplifting film or an inspirational one. Being a dark story didn't get it much love at the box office, either, where it earned less than $500,000 against a budget of $3 million. At award ceremonies, the film gained several nominations but no prizes, despite generally positive reviews and a relatively warm reception at Sundance. It's considerably better than I expected, and certainly worth watching.
★★★½ review by serge coopman on Letterboxd
This could be an epilogue of the fourth season of The Wire. Two fantastic child actors who play the stars of heaven against a background of social and moral impoverishment. Very pleasant surprise!
★★★½ review by Matt on Letterboxd
This movie felt like a modern, urban version of the 400 blows with a practically good lead child performance and a bunch of A-list actors in unrecognizable supporting roles (Anthony Mackie, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson.). The movie was funny, heartfelt, and actually made me care about the leads the whole film even though it sets them up for heartbreak after heartbreak. The climax is emotional but is undercut by a very pointless and tacked on final scene.
★★★★★ review by Yola on Letterboxd
I love this film wholeheartedly. Really grand acting from the whole cast but especially Skylan Brooks and Ethan Dizon. Their respected breakout performances as Mister and Pete are what drives this film as well as the impacted, very real story of youth in low-income families. I recommend it completely; it’s not a plot shown often in cinema.
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