Weaving race, class, sexual orientation and politics -- as well as the evolution of rap music -- into a wistful tapestry of male disaffection, the film's writer and director, Neil Drumming, introduces three not-so-young men whose friendship fell apart 15 years earlier along with their rising hip-hop group....As Mr. Drumming's whip-smart screenplay effects an uncomfortable group reunion, the film's playlike structure and relaxed rhythms perfectly frame conversations infused with pre-gentrification memories and music industry nostalgia. Throughout, his droll, insightful dialogue has a natural pop and sway that the actors clearly relish -- especially Yaya Alafia, magnificent as a coolly self-possessed dancer who sees right through John's smoke screen of apathy. Warmly photographed by Cliff Charles, "Big Words" is an engrossing, coming-of-middle-age drama that shows how disappointment can fester and derail a life. By the end, hope and change seem possible but far from guaranteed.
It will come as no surprise that I wholly agree. Every single African-American who ever complained about not seeing "us" in all our complexity on shows like Girls or Mad Men has a moral obligation to see this film. You must tell your stories. Other people will not do it for you.
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