Little Woods: Poverty During Boom Times

 In Crime, Drama, Everything, Good, Westerns, Woman Director, Woman Writer
Picture of Lily James and Tessa Thompson in the film Little Woods

Little Woods

Directed by Ni DaCosta
Written by Ni DaCosta

The review:

A quality dramatic film with about the life of a person facing economic challenges is always a win in my book, which makes this film a winner.* In this “modern Western**” Tessa Thompson and Lily James play sisters who are doing what they can to hold onto their family home and vanquish other complications. For both actors, it’s a chance to be not glamorous while flexing their serious drama skills so we can see their characters’ fight for survival,*** set in the North Dakota oil boom.****

The verdict: Good

Cost: $12.99 (monthly Disney+ and Hulu combo fee)
Where watched: at home

Consider also watching:

Further sentences:

*They’re difficult to make. Poverty is grinding and it’s harder to wring dramatic tension out of a story about ends continually not meeting than one where, say, a meteor is going to hit earth, or a ship is sinking.
**The synopsis on IMDB calls it a modern Western. I’m not sure I agree with the term.
***In the grand tradition of always questioning poor people’s choices, I found myself wondering why they didn’t rent out some rooms in the house. I think maybe the mother had just died though, so perhaps that was hampering the process.
****I enjoyed seeing this particular slice of life, which I had only read about.


  • What past events do you think have shaped the relationship between the two sisters?
  • Breaking the law? Necessary or avoidable in this instance?

Favorite IMDB trivia item:

The story was initially conceived as a modern retelling of Othello, which is where the names Deb and Ollie/Oleander come from.

Other reviews of Little Woods:

Text: Your choices are only as good as your options are. —Little Woods. Read the three sentence movie review.
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