Parents' Guide to

Tuscaloosa

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Ambitious drama/romance takes on too much but still works.

Movie NR 2020 101 minutes
Tuscaloosa Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

I’m confused

This movie is kinda weird you don’t really know what’s going on . But some how you still want to watch it. There are too many points being made to really enjoy it. I still can’t make much sense of it to be honest.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Based on a 1994 novel by W. Glasgow Phillips, this drama tries to achieve a novel's depth and breadth, and while many facets feel short-changed, much of it is still powerfully engaging. Music video maker Philip Harder makes his feature writing and directing debut with Tuscaloosa, and it's an ambitious attempt, not only in the tapestry of characters and history, but in the period setting and mood. (The song "O-o-h Child" by the Five Stairsteps has been used in many movies, but it sounds just right here.)

Both Bostick and Dyer are wonderful in their roles. Bostick's Billy is both kind and an outsider, moving to a slightly different rhythm than those around him. And Dyer captures a wonderful pluckiness, playing around with the line between what it means to be "sane" and "crazy." But Davis, while effective as Nigel, gets short-changed. His character is almost exclusively seen during exchanges with Billy, and both his relationship with Billy and his transformation into a militant are frustratingly opaque. Likewise, the flashbacks to the two young mothers, which should have tied so many things together, are both scant and repetitive. But Billy and Virginia keep Tuscaloosa flowing in a touching way as they navigate the extremes of the world and all the anger that goes with them, trying to make their own place.

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