Beefy slices of life carved out of three characters in the outlands of Louisiana. Single mom Miss Helen (Karen Kaia Livers) — her husband died of AIDS — appears more determined in her efforts to prevent her dog from itching itself to death than she is in looking after her drunk, wife-beating son Daniel (Dominique McClellan). Then, smack dab in the middle of Reverend Tillman’s (Wendell Pierce) sweaty sermon, director Phillip Michael Youmans flashes forward to a shot of the Reverend receiving guidance from a flask on the drive home. (No matter how drunk he gets, the good Lord will keep him safe.) Next, it’s a rite of passage: letting your son take his first foamy sip of beer. Daniel gives his son a couple of pulls off a whiskey bottle. This gritty, debut feature from 19-year-old Youmans is nothing if not ambitious, particularly in its depiction of seemingly helpless female characters. Dark lighting to supplant meaning and some pay-attention-to-me camerawork can distract from the realism, but not enough to diminish the overall power of the piece. (2019) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.