That director Sarah Gavron has a love for female voices is proven by her Suffragette and Brick Lane. Now, she’s doing it again as she brings some new voices to our attention. Not only ‘new’ as in ‘voices we’ve never heard before’ but also ‘new’ as in ‘voices from first-time actors. Her Rocks is a beautiful and uplifting but also heartbreaking movie full of raw emotions.
When you have to go through a difficult time all on your own
Shola (Bukky Bakray), nickname Rocks, is a very vivid, creative, and full-of-life young woman who has a great time with her friends. Always cheerful, always getting into minor trouble, and always showing the world her make-up skills. On the outside, seems to be a typical teenager, but underneath her bubbly personality, there’s also sadness and pain. After her mother’s sudden departure, she needs to care for herself and her little brother Emmanuel (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu). Paying bills and getting food on the table becomes extremely difficult for Rocks, even with the little money her mum left her.
She’s doing her best: attending school, not getting into trouble anymore, and being there for her brother. There’s just one thing. She’s afraid of showing her emotions to her friends, and therefore, she has to face this massive burden alone. When this is starting to pressure her friendships, it’s all becoming too much for Rocks. Right when she thought she had seen the worst, people turn up on her doorstep, and they’re not coming to socialize.
A first-class ensemble brings a lot of authenticity to this movie
During the Dublin International Film Festival, “Rocks” won the Best Ensemble award, and it’s that stunning ensemble that keeps this movie going. The performances of the overall cast are poignant, beautiful, and right from the heart. Because of the acting, you feel that you’re watching a real-life documentary instead of a movie. Every time Bakray appears on the screen, she will either make you laugh or cry.
Her performance is compelling and brings out that fighting spirit of “Rocks”. The on-screen chemistry between her and Kissiedu, who also deserves credit for his adorable and emotional performance, is such a wonderful one to see. The girls are all together in most scenes, but Bakray has the most time together with Kosar Ali, who’s playing the hip-hop loving Sumaya. Ali is such a delight to see, both her performance as the upbeat Sumaya and the more emotional young woman. However, again, congratulations to the entire cast of this movie!
There’s also a very high element of authenticity connected to this movie. The slang that the friends use, the secrets handshakes, and the entertaining classes are beautifully interwoven in the story. It feels like we’re back in school again. When seeing places like Rio Cinema and London’s landscape view, we’re out there on the streets, side-by-side with the girls. Also, the fact that every girl is different in her unique way is so refreshing to watch. No matter what class they’re from or which god they believe in, they’re friends who take each other for who they’re.
A must-see gorgeous and moving film
Rocks was already part of film festivals such as the BFI London Film Festival and FilmBath Festival and is now getting a nationwide UK release. Not only because it proves that the film industry is slowly getting back up again but also because it will give you the chance to see this truth-full, emotional, and beautiful movie.
Rating: (4 / 5)
Rocks is released in the U.K. on the 18th of September
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