Little Woods: Poverty During Boom Times
Directed by Ni DaCosta
Written by Ni DaCosta
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:
- Blindspotting (Double feature subject: the last few days on probation. Watch this first, then Blindspotting)
- Winter’s Bone
- The Last Black Man in San Francisco
- Wild Rose
*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: