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Parents' Guide to


By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Drama about impact of gentrification falls short; language.

Movie NR 2020 90 minutes
Residue Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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This movie shifts into focus when it gives its characters room to reconnect and reminisce. But ultimately a few well-observed scenes can't compensate for the movie's shortcomings. A movie about a writer returning home so that he can write a movie about where he's from, Residue is a story within itself. Central character Jay's desire to document where he's from despite no longer wanting to live there is an interesting premise, and one that will resonate with anyone who fondly remembers where they grew up while at the same time feeling like they've grown apart from where they're from.

However, the debut feature from writer-director Merawi Gerima quickly shows itself to be heavy on thoughtful compositions, but lacking in characterisation and plot. The camera's lens is layered with effects during flashback sequences, while some camera angles deliberately frame scenes so they match the awkward, uneasy point of view with which the local Black residents see gentrification changing their neighborhood forever. It's effective at times, but also repetitive -- fireworks and other visual metaphors are over-used with diminishing returns. Jay is especially dull, with his mumbled dialogue and passive presence rendering Residue well-intentioned but lacking the creativity and impact of Blindspotting, which tackles similar subject matter in much more memorable fashion.

Movie Details

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