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BBFC RatingBrother

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Director(s)Clement Virgo
Writer(s)David Chariandy, Clement Virgo
Running Time1HR 59MINS
SeasonMain Programme

Clement Virgo’s stirring drama Brother is a soulful meditation on wounded masculinity, fractured identity and the power of family.

Lamar Johnson and Aaron Pierre play the inseparable brothers Michael and Francis. Every night, before leaving for work, their mother (Marsha Stephanie Blake) gives them strict instructions to stay indoors and keep the TV off, but the two inevitably become entangled in what’s going on outside, both in person and through nightly news reports. Michael, a timid teenager, is always protected by the slightly older Francis, who, in their father’s absence, steps up to be his mentor.

Ten years later, Francis is gone and Michael, unmoored, struggles to take care of his mother, who is now incapacitated by grief. The film slowly pieces together their tragedy, jumping back and forth through time to capture its weight, and to track how a mother’s painstaking efforts to protect her children can only extend so far.

A resonant adaptation of David Chariandy’s 2017 novel – with shades of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight – Brother ably wrestles with themes of memory, grief and regret. A film which never shirks the stultifying and deadly impact of racism, whilst nevertheless celebrating the joy and love that strengthen resistance.

"No feeling in Brother goes unfelt; every element of its filmmaking taps into the heart."

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