Directed by Matthew Newton
Three undocumented teenagers, a Dominican girl, an African boy and a Peruvian girl, are about to graduate high school in the Bronx, while working with a teacher and a lawyer to try to get their papers to stay in the USA. Forced to grow up prematurely and navigate problems most adults don't even have to face, they're really just American teenagers who want to be with their friends, fall in love, and push back against authority.
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★★★½ review by Mike D'Angelo on Letterboxd
A.V. Club review. Very much a message movie, but one that mostly prioritizes complexity over its thesis statement.
★★★½ review by Jordan Ford on Letterboxd
In the wake of Trump's DACA decision, this film's message is more important now than ever.
★★★½ review by Daniel Sarath on Letterboxd
In ostensibly combining the over-lit low-budget aesthetic I abhor with the 'issues movie' themes I find useless, I was immediately apprehensive about From Nowhere. However, this story about the anxiety of deportation that looms over three teenagers in their final year of high school is written and performed with such emotional complexity—Julliane Nicholson's performance is my favourite of the year so far—that it manages to impress, even quite profoundly at times. From Nowhere avoids being a tired 'issues movie' about deportation by deciding to avoid instigating righteous moral outrage and aspiring, instead, to have us simply empathise with the array of emotions these characters endure: fear, frustration, hopelessness, determination, resilience. There is a scene when one of the kids' mothers suffers a particularly powerful dilemma—admitting a horrible truth about her son's parentage which will help his immigration case, but in doing so cause him great upset—which contains more depth of feeling and moral intricacy than most movies achieve in an entire two hours.
★★★½ review by Gazelle Garcia on Letterboxd
14/30 of my SXSW 2016
It was refreshing to see what many might consider as heavy handed or overblown subject matter free of cliches. The supporting cast is as strong as the leads, which is saying a whole lot. I'm grateful at the attention to detail that not many with lack of knowledge/experience about immigration would have noticed. The characters act with clear intention and the subtle performances deliever a thoughtful look at the lives of undocumented teenagers with an honest yet tasteful perspective.
★★★½ review by Joshua Sikora on Letterboxd
First film at SXSW 2016 — 'From Nowhere,' is an emotionally-charged look at three undocumented teenagers who find themselves caught between the poor choices their parents have made and a system that is blind to their potential. It’s a well-acted film, driven by really compelling performances — especially from the young actors playing the high school students. The filmmaking is standard indie fare — mostly uninspiring handheld camera work and lighting, clearly with the priority being to deliver a raw and natural experience, although this ultimately ends up feeling one-noted and contrived.
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